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THE YEARS 1834, 1835, & 1836. 





"Le voyager me semble un exercise profitable : I'arae y a una continuelle 
cxercitation, a remarquer les choses incogniies et nouvelles ; et je ne SQaohe 
pas meilleure escole a fagonner la vie q«e de luy proposer incessamment la 
diversite de tant d'autres fantasies et usances, et luy faire gouter une si 
perpetuelle variete de forme de nostre nature." — Essais de Montaigne, liv. 3, 
chap. ix. 







■ » 






The River of Snakes. — Labyrinth of Hillocks. — Unfortunate Com- 
mencement of our Journey. — Indications of a Tempest. — Prepara- 
tions for passing the Night. — Awful Storm. — Prairie Wolves. — Dif- 
ficulty in kindling a Fiie. — Halting-place. — Exploring Excursion. — 
Buffalo Tracks. — Supper. — Necessity of short Allowance. — Baftalo 
Soup. — The Night Watch. — Precautions agc-inst being Surprised. — 
Meditations in the Wilderness. — Our March resumed. — A Disap- 
pointment. — Pools of Water. — Difficulty in collecting our Horses. — 
A Buftalo shot. — Supply of Meat. — A Party of Indians descried. — 
Plans to be adopted in the coming Encounter. — Hostile Appearances. 
— The Meeting — its pacific Terminaiion. — Comfortable Camping- 
place Page 13 


March resumed — Our Night Camp. — False .^larm. — Rules for Travel- 
ling in the Prairies. — Solitary Indian Traveller. — Indian Trails. — 
Arrival at the Banks of a large Stream. — Herds of Antelopes. — Wild 
Grapes and Plums. — Culinary Invention. — Watery Labyrinth. — 
Discovery of an Indian Trail. — Pursuit of its Course. — Loss of our 
Horses. — Search for and Recovery of them. — Annoyance by Musqui- 
toes. — Discovery of a larger Trail. — Determination to follow it. — A 
Jungle. — Amusing Perplexity. — Approach to the Kanzas River. — 
Gratitude to Heaven. — Exultation of the Party. — Ruins of an Indian 
Village. — Fording the River. — An old Indian Camp. — Trouble in 
making a Fire. — My new patent Grate. — Hot Soup. . . 28 


Uncomfortable Night. — Our wretched Appearance and forlorn Costume. 
— Unceasing Rain. — Symptoms of Ague. — Fruitless Hunt. — Conso- 
lation in Disappointment. — Pursuit of the Northern Trail. — Lucky 
Discovery. — Arrival at our old Camping-place. — Diminution of our 
Provisions. — Forced Marches. — Pursuit of a Flock of Turkeys and 



a Fawn. — A gray Badger shot and eaten.— A Thunder-storm. — Re- 
lics of our former Halting-place. — Our miserable Plight. — Grouse, or 
Prairie-hen. — Unsuccessful Search for Leer — A Tangled District. — 
Privations. — March resumed. — Vicissitudes of Temperature. — Mer- 
riment of the younger Juhn. — Indian Trails. — Horse-flies. — Flowers 
of the Prairie. — Approach to the Missouri. — Welcome Signs of Ci- 
vilization. — An Amusing Difficulty. — Hospitable Reception at the 
For: Page 43 


Epidemic Fever and Ague. — Hospitality of Captain Hunter. — A 
noxious Intruder. — Visit to the Kickapoo Village. — An Indian 
Preacher and Prophet. — Restrictions similar to those in the Mosiac 
Lavv^.. — Specimen of an Indi?n Sermon — Pursuit of a Bear. — Sale of 
my Horses. — Embark for St. Louis. — Dangerous Navigation. — Paw- 
paws. — Unhealthy Appearance of the Missouri Settlers. — Republican 
Equahty. — Gambling in the Steamboat. — Officers of the United Scales 
Army. — Frequency of Duels — Drunkenness among the common 
Soldiers. — Insubordination and Desertion in the Army. — Arrival at 
St. Louis. — Catholic Church there. — A French Artist. — Dulness at 
St. Louis. — Jefferson Barracks. — Old French Village. — The Arsenal. 
— Hospitality of the commanding Officer. — Music in the house of Mr. 
P., a German resident in St. Louis. . . . • . 59 


Embark on the Mississippi. — Droll Rencontre. — Subjection of Ir^dian 
Tribes. — Keokuk. — Atrocious Exploit. — Passing the Rapids. — Fort 
des Moines. — Frequent Desertions from this Post. — River Scenery. 
— Fort Armstrong. — Fossil Remains. — Galena. — Lead Mines. — The 
Miners : their dissolute Life. — Subscription by the Irish Liberty-boys. 
— Lynch Law ; its Origin. — Rate of Wages among the Miners. — Price 
of Provisions. — Hospitable Reception at Prairie du Chein. — Hunting 
E.xpcdition to Turkey River. — Horrible Tragedy. . . .71 


.Encampment of Winnebagoes. — Their Lodges. — Women of the Tribe. 
— Arrival at the Painted Rock. — March into the Interior. — Our Party 
reconnoitred by an Indian. — Language of the Winnebagoes. — A 

• half-breed Interpreter. — Hunting Expedition on Turkey River. — 
Stratagem of our Indian Neighbours. — Bee-hunting. — A Stag bathing. 
— Disappointment. — Search for Deer. — A Doe s°hot. — Prairies and 
Woods set on fire by the Indians. — Critical Situation. — A Forest 
Conflagation.— Prairie Wolves. —Return to the Fort. — Fallacious 
Assertions. — Tribes in the Neighbourhood of the Fort. — An Excur- 
sion. — Ascent of a steep Blufl'. — Reception in a Log-hut. — Fertile 
District. — Beautiful Woodland Scene 85 



An English Settler. — Search for Deer. — Excursion to Dubuques. — 
River Platte. — Crossing the Ferry. — The Ferryman's Extortion. — 
Ramble among the Mountains; its E.Kcitement. — " Awkward Slue." 
— Deer Feeding. — Practice in Woodcraft. — Beautiful Scene. — Din- 
ner in the Ferryman's House. — A Western Twilight. — Arrival at Du- 
buques. — Company in the Bar-room of the Tavern. — Meeting with 
Dr. M. of the United States Army. — Our Dormitory. — Singular Dia- 
logue. — Theft rare in the Towns on the Mississippi. — Mines near 
Dubuques. — Religious Service in the Town. — A Bully. — Whimsical 
Delusion. — Tomb of a Spanish Miner. — Mr. F., the Geologist. — 
Arrival at St. Louis. — Mean Extortion. . . . Page 99 


Society of St. Louis. — A Ball. — The Waltz. — Musical Accomplish- 
ments of my Hostess. — Independent Hack-driver. — Singular Charac- 
ter. — Leave St. Louis. — Travelling Party. — Embark in " The Far 
West." — Icy Obstructions in the River — Visit to our Friends at the 
Arsenal. — -Irish in America. — Mishaps. — Ignorant Pilot. — Mouth of 
the Ohio. — Shores of the Mississippi. — ^Iouth of the Arkansas. — 
Change of Climate. — Vicksburgh. — Big Black Creek, — Natchez. — 
Comfortable Assurance. — Miserable Road. — The Upper Tov>'n. — 
Public Buildings. — The Theatre. — The Audience. — The Perform- 
ance. — Drunken Indians. — Leave Natchez. — Mouth of Red River. — 
December Scenery and Temperature. — New Orleans. . .114 


First Appearance of New Orleans. — Lodgings.— Public Buildings. — 
Society. — Theatres. — Creole Ball. — Creole Beauty. — Cotton-press- 
ing. — Motley Population. — The Battle Field. — Pont Xhartrain. — 
Suburbs of the City. — Leave New Orleans — Change of Climate. — 
A Polish Jew. — Dangerous Rocks. — The New Year. — Harbour of 
Havana. — Regulations on Landing. — Former and Present State of 
Havana. — Military Force in Cuba. — The Town of Havana. — Public 
Ball. — Spanish Boarding-house. — Beautiful Italian. — An Excursion. 
— Visit to the Governor. — Performers at the Italian Opera, — The 
Theatre. — The Audience. — Effective Police System. — The Garrotte. 
— Execution of Culprits. — Streets of Havana. — Idlers. — Manufac- 
ture of Cigars. ......... 129 


Tour in the Country. — Our Cortege. — The Road. — Aspect of the Coun- 
try. — Changes of Soil. — Equipment of Equestrian Farmers. — Singu- 
lar Mode of Travelling. — Arrival at our Journey's End. — Don Dio- 
nysio Mantilla's House and Sugar Plantation. — Preparation of Su- 
gar. — Distillation of Brandy from Molasses. — Village of Marielli. — 
Fine Prospect. — Friendly Reception. — Aquatic Excursion. — District 
of St. Marc's.— Mr. C 's Plantation.— His Hospitality.— Coffee 



Plantation. — Tenure of Property in Cuba — Return to Havana. — 
Another Excursion. — Family of Montalvo. — Strange Inconsistencies. 
— A Cuban Dinner. — The Dessert. — Rambles in the Neighbourhood 
of San Ignacio. — Journey to Matanzas. — A pretty Village. — Speci- 
mens of Spanish Beauty. — Rustic Ball. — Arrival at Matanzas. — My 
Host. — Cure for Fever. . . . . . . Page 147 


Town of Matanzas. — Excursions on Horseback. — Fertile Valley. — 
Day-dreams. — Cock-fight. — T.ofty Mountain — Ascent to its Summit. 
— Magnificent Prospect. — Forest Trees. — Trails of Runaway Ne- 
groes. — Diflerent Tribes of African Slaves imported into Cuba. — 
Congou Musical Instruments. — Negro Suicide. — Return to Havana. 
— Mercantile Excitement produced by a sudden Rise in the Price of 
Sugar. — Management of a Sugar Estate in Cuba. — The Carnival. — 
Bull-fight. — The Italian Opera. — Tertullia-q. — Gay Scene in the Plaza 
de Armas. — Commerce and Statistics. — Treaty for the Abolition of 
Slavery. — Dinner with the Governor. — The New Prison. — Masked 
Balls. — Leave Havana. — Sail for Charleston. — A Storm. — Arrival in 
the Harbour. — Hospitable Reception. — Letters from Home. . 169 


Charleston. — Hospitality of the Inhabitants. — The Carolinian Charac- 
ter. — Change in the Law of Primogeniture. — Education. — College 
at West Point. — Republicanism of Charleston. — Tone of Society. — 
Saintly Newspaper Editors. — Sail for Norfolk. — Arrival there. — A 
Race. — Passage from Norfolk. — American Seamen. — Night Scene on 
board the Steamer. — Arrival at Washington. — Debates in Congress. 
— Diplomatic Dinners. — General Jackson. — Mr. Van Buren. — Me- 
diation of Great Britain between the United States and France. — 
Proceed to Baltimore. — Commerce of that City — Philadelphia ; its 
Society and Hospitality. — Route to New York. — Indian Excitement. 
— Threatening Aspect of Indian AflTairs. — American State Militia. — 
Streets of New York. — Dinner given by the St. George's Society. — 
Races on Long Island. — Visit to a Friend's Country Seat on the 
Banks of the Hudson. — Return to New York. . . . 186 


Institutions and Society in the United States. — Importance of the 
Labouring Class. — Non-existence of Pauperism. — State of Crime. — 
Education. — Political Institutions of America. — Slavery in the United 
States. — Contradiction in the Theory of American Government. — 
Expedient for the gradual Extinction of Slavery. — Its Non-efficiency. 
— State of Religion in America. — The Voluntary System. — Religious 
Sects. — American Society. — Education. — Style of Oratory in Con- 
gress. — Officers of the Army and Navy. — American Ladies. — Intona- 
tion of Voice. — Academies. — Independent Manner and Opinion of 
American Ladies. — Marriage. — National Vanity. . . .199 



Vexatious Disappointment. — Sail for Elizabeth-to-wn. — Proceed to 
Plainfields and Flemington. — Beauty of the Country. — Addition to 
our Party. — Journey toward the Alleghanies. — Nation of the Dela- 
wares. — The River Delaware. — Immense Forest. — A Rattlesnake. — 
Valley of Lackawana. — Anthracite Coal. — Valley of Wyoming. — 
Coal Mine. — Return to Flemington. — Purchase of Live Stock. — 
Embark for New York. — Gambling Excitement. — The great Racing 
Match. — E.fcursion to the West. — Stay at Newburgh. — Start for 
Albany. — Poughkeepsie. — Wedding Party. — Hyde Park. — Glorious 
Landscape. — Kinderhook. — A wet Ride. — Albany. — Dutch Church. 
— Falls of Cohoes. — The Patroon's House and Family. — Lake Otsego. 
— Hyde Hall. — Cooper's Town. — Dinner with Mr. Cooper, the cele- 
brated Novelist. — Prosperity of the Towns between New York and 
Buffalo. — Terms of political Abuse. — Oneida Indians. — Canandaigua. 
— Journey resumed. ....... Page 220 


Falls of Genesee. — Commerce rcr^z/^ Romance. — Captain Jones. — Ap- 
proach to Ithaca. — The Town. — Railroad to Owego. — The Wind- 
Gap. — Easton. — Patios of the District. — Episcopal Church — Ride 
to Bethlehem. — A German Emigrant. — Embark for New York. — 
Preparations for Return to England. — Embark in "The Oxford." — 
Party in the Cabin. — Hill, the American Comedian. — Prosperous 
Voyage. — Home 237 





The River of Snakes. — Labyrinth of Hillocks. — Unfortunate Com- 
mencement of our Journey. — Indications of a Tempest. — Prepara- 
tions for passing the Night. — Awful Storm. — Prairie Wolves. — Dif- 
ficulty in kindling a Fire. — Halting-place. — Exploring Excursion. — • 
Buffalo Tracks. — Supper. — Necessity of short Allowance. — Buffalo 
Soup. — The Night Watch. — Precautions against being Surprised. — 
Meditations in the Wilderness. — Our March resumed. — A Disap- 
pointment. — Pools of Water. — Difficulty in collecting our Horses. — - 
A Buffalo shot. — Supply of Meat. — A Party of Indians descried. — 
Plans to be adopted in the coming Encounter, — Hostile Appearances. 
— The Meeting — its pacific Termination. — Comfortable Camping- 

I ccuLD not have entered on my arduous office under 
more unpropitious circumstances, for the river, by the 
side of which we had taken our mid-day meal, flowed 
many degrees farther toward the south than the course 
which I wished to follow, beside which, its waters were 
very salt, and its banks afforded perpetual testimony to 
the propriety of its name, as termed by the Indians, 
*' The River of Snakes" — so that I was most anxious to 
leave it, and to find a more desirable stream from which 
to drinkj'^nd whose course should be more favourable to 
our contemplated journey; but as I remembered hear- 
ing the Indians say that there was no water within a 
^dav's march to the north, I scarcely thought it prudent 
to leave altogether the saline river of snakes. 

Nor did my diflScullies end here ; for never since we 

Vol. II.~B 


entered the prairies of the West, had we been entangled 
in such a labyrinth of steep, irregular, and broken ridges 
as those which obstructed our progress when we at- 
tempted to leave ihe course of the stream. As soon as 
one height was attained, another and a higher arose be- 
fore us. In the ascent, the packs slipped over our 
mules' and horses' tails ; in the descent, over iheir necks 
and ears. It was in vain that I halted my party, and 
rode to the right and the left ; T could find no practica- 
ble escape from this tumultuous and confused mass of 
hillocks, which were not (as is usually the case with the 
heights in the western prairies) in a regular succession 
of ridges, like the Atlantic in a gale of wind, but like the 
short, broken, irregular seas, raised by heavy squalls 
from opposite quarters in the Irish channel. 

I soon found that the shades of night would overtake 
us in this disagreeable situation unless I again directed 
our course to Snake River, which I reluctantly did, and 
we encamped at a place not more than four or five miles 
south-east from the spot where the guides had left us, 
having performed a most difficult and fatiguing march of 
as many hours. 

I confess I was much disheartened ; I could not but 
feel that this unfortunate beginning would prevent the 
parly from having any confidence in my capacity as 
guide, and I was afraid that I m.ight either have under- 
rated the difficulties of the office, or overrated my own 
power of obviating them ; however, as I had undertaken 
it not from any foolish vanity, but from necessity and at 
the request of my companions, I determined not to be 
cast down by my first failure ; but to redouble my ex- 
ertions on the morrow, and restore their confidence and 
my own. 

Meantime, there was enough occupation before us to 
banish all speculative meditations, for the huge heavy 
masses of black cloud were gathering in the north-west ; 
our small experience was sufficient to teach us, that they 
were charged with storm and tempest, and it was evi- 
dent that we should scarcely have time to collect wood 
and make our five, prepare and swallow our supper, se- 
cure our horses, and shelter ourselves and baggage, as 


well as our means would permit, before we might expect 
a repetition of the drenching which we "had undergone 
two nights before. 

All these varTons avocations, divided only among four, 
kept our hands tolerably full ; fire-wood was very scarce, 
and it was evident that,"' although we might collect enough 
to provide our supper, it was hopeless to attempt gather- 
ing such a supply as might contend with the wet night 
which threatened us ; however, we completed our pre- 
parations, ate some dried buftalo meat, and drank a pot 
of coffee, rolled ourselves up in skins, and spread the tent 
loose over Qur persons and baggage, taking special care 
to wrap ma^y folds of hide round the flour and ammuni- 
tion ; we then crept all close together, so as to borrow 
and lend each other warmth, and thus awaited patiently 
the expected deluge. 

We were not kept long in suspense ; the black curtain 
of cloud had now spread" over the whole norlh-west quar- 
ter of the heavens. The steady and awful march of the 
god of storms came on, accompanied by his own dread 
and magnificent music, the blasts of rushing and roaring 
wind, and the heavy rolling peals of thunder. The at- 
tack was commenced by a few large drops of rain, which 
fell irregularly ; soon, however, the great flood-gates 
were opened, and their waters let loose upon our house- 
less and ill-protected party. For some time our buffalo 
and bear skins made a stout resistance ; but it was of no 
avail, — small streams were running in every direction, 
whilst every little hollow became a puddle, so that, ere 
long, we had the satisfaction of knowing that we were 
thoroughly soaked, and consequently free from any fur- 
ther anxiety about the rain. 

As we were huddled closely together, we did not feel 
much annoyance from cold, at least I can answer for 
myself, inasmuch as I found time to admire the ter- 
rible ma.^nificence of the scene, the effect of which 
was heightened by the prolonged echoes of the thunder 
among the heights opposite to our camp ;* while, as a 

* This word is so universally in use by western travellers, in the sense 
of any halting or sleeping place, (whether tents have been pitched or 
not,) that I must be excused if, from habit, I generally use it in this ex- 
tended signification. 


kind of accompanimein to its desolation, a pack of prairie 
wolves, at no great distance from us, seemed to complain 
of cold, wet, and hunger, in their whining monotonous 
howl, which reached us in a louder or in a lower key, 
according as the sound was borne along by the eddying 
blasts which swept down the broken ravines around us. 
Even after the fiist fury of the storm had expended it- 
self, a heavy rain continued to fall during the greater 
part of the night. I suppose that none of us slept much, 
and that we welcomed with no little joy the early rays 
of the sun, which came to dissipate at once the watery 
clouds and the shades of night. 

Considering that activity and exertion were our only 
safeguards against rheumatism, I jumped up, and de- 
sired the men to assist in making a fire. This was not 
an easy matter, as al) the wood which we could pick up 
was saturated with water ; however, by splitting some 
of the larger pieces, we succeeded in taking from the 
interior portions a few dry chips, and half-an-hour's 
nursing and blowing produced an infant blaze, which, 
with continued care, was soon large enough to boil us a 
pot of coffee. I found that neither of our attendants ob- 
jected much to this part of the day's duty, for, while thus 
fostering the fire, they were at the same time warming 
their own cold fingers and persons. My Scotch servant 
complained much of sundry pains in his back and body ,* 
I could give him no better relief or advice than to jump 
and rub the blood into circulation, and to drink a cup of 
hot coffee. 

Indeed, when I reflected upon the strange contrast of 
our present mode of life, as compared with our usual 
habits in society ; when I recollected what severe colds 
are produced by sitting an hour or two with wet feet, or 
sleeping in sheets only rather damp ; and then looked 
upon our present party, after we had been lying for se- 
ven or eight hours without a fire, and perfectly soaked 
through, I could not help feeling surprised, and I hope I 
may add grateful, for the health which we had enjoyed, 
and whicli we still preserved. I had slept on my black 
bear-skin, which is almost impervious to wet ; but when" 
I rose tliis morning, there were puddles of water on it 


(especially where my elbow and hip had rested) of se- 
veral inches in depth. 

As the ground was too humid to admit of our going 
through the necessary operation of spreading and drying 
all our skins, I thought it better to follow the cours;e of 
the stream for some miles, so as to find a camping-place 
where we might more easily obtain fire-wood for our noon 
meal ; and while the rest of the party were drying them- 
selves and baggage,* I might explore the surrounding 
country, to see what facilities its formation afforded for 
our proposed north-east route. We moved on, accord- 
ingly, to a spot seven or eight miles east, where two old 
dead trees offered us a store of good fire-wood, while the 
short dry grass had, under the influence of the sun, lost 
all traces of the previous night's rain. 

I determined to halt the parly here all the rest of the 
day ; and, begging them to have a good supper for me on 
my return, set off on my exploring excursion, armed with 
compass and rifle. The bluffs, whicli formed the sides 
of the valley, were less high and abrupt here than above, 
and seemed to offer a better prospect of escape through 
some defile. After scrambling to the top of the highest 
which I could find, I sat down to take a general survey. 
My first object was to ascertain the course of the stream 
on which we had camped : by the aid of my telescope I 
could distinctly see that, about four or five miles lower 
down, it took a great bend to the south, as I could trace 
its course for a great distance in that direction by the 
valley that it formed, slightly fringed with the green of 
the alder and poplar. 

I was now convinced that it was a tributary, not of the 
Kanzas, but of the Arkansas, and that we must at all 
events leave it on the following morning ; so I com- 
menced my search for a practicable route to the north or 
north-east. I found a great many fresh buffalo tracks, 
and a few lazy stragglers from the herd still lingered in 
sight ; I saw also several wolves and antelopes, and of 

* A heavy night's rain is a very serious hindrance on a prairie jour- 
ney, to those who have no tent nor lodge to protect the baggage ; for if 
the buffalo-skins and packed meat are not spread in the sun and tho- 
roughlv dried, it will not be long before they both rot and spoil. 


JQ sirppER, 

these latter I tried several times to kill one, but could not 
succeed. At length 1 came to a very large buffalo track 
leading due north ; and upon following ii for some dis- 
tance, was convinced that, although passing through a 
very rough stony gorge, it was selected with the instinc- 
tive sagacity of those hairy travellers, and thence 1 infer- 
red, that at some less distance than thirty or forty miles, 
their track would lead us to water. 

Having, accordingly, noted this defile by several land- 
marks, that I miglit remember it on the morrow, I 
returned to camp, and found, to my great consolation, a 
large pot of good buffalo-soup simmering over the fire, 
■which ray companions were about to attack. The wet- 
ting of the preceding night was forgotten, the skins were 
nearly dry, and our hot supper, succeeded by a pipe, 
closed the day most comfortably ; and as for the night, 
the old trees had been made to furnish from their limbs 
wherewithal to warm our own. 

Upon calculating, as well as I was able, the distance 
between this spot and Fort Leavenworth, I thought we 
might hope, barring serious accidents, to reach it in 
eighteen or twenty days ; and upon comparing this 
computation with our stock of provisions, it became 
evident that retrenchment must be the order of the day, 
especially in the use of our small bag of flour, upon 
measuring which, with our tin cups, we found it to con- 
tain about ten quarts. It does not require a very ex- 
perienced baker to show that, if we attempted to furnish 
bread to four men out of this stock, even allowing six 
ounces to each per diem, it would very soon be ex- 
hausted, and I suggested an expedient which succeeded 
beyond our most sanguine expectations ; it was simply 
this, to give up altogether our fried flour cakes, and to 
make our morning and evening meal consist of a pot of 
buffalo-broth, into which we could still afford to ihrow a 
few beans and grains of maize. When the whole was 
well-boiled and ready f9r table, while it was yet simmer- 
ing over the fire, we look half a pint of flour, and dropped 
it slowly into the soup, stirring the latter with a spoon or 
stick ; in this manner it soon became as soft and thick 
as gruel, and we all found it a most palatable and 


nutritious food ; thus used, a pint of flour among four 
men is a sufficierjt allowance, and will satisfy hunger as 
much as two or three quarts made into bread or cakes. 
We discovered another excellent quality in this t[)ick 
soup ; that it allayed, or rather prevented, the cravings 
of thirst for a longer period than any other food ; for 
although the weather was sometimes oppressively hot, 
and the sun's rays very powerful on the unshaded prairie, 
I could ride from our breakfast hour, which was daylight, 
until we camped for the evening, without experiencmg 
any inconvenience from the want of water, if we 
happened not to pass near to any stream or pond. 

On the night of the 15th we slept very comfortably, 
nothing occuriing to break our slumbers except a pack 
of wolves in full cry after a deer, which went along the 
brow of the heights at no great distance from us, arous- 
ing mingled echoes which would have transported any 
keen fox-hunier in imagination to the side of a gorse- 
cover in merry England, However, there was one 
annoyance to which I felt it my duty to subject tlie 
party, and this was, keeping a watch all night ; — sleep 
is a very good thing, but safety is a better. I knew not 
what parties of Indians might be out in this wild region ; 
even if they did not hit on our trail, our fire, which we 
could not dispense with, would surely betray us, and 
there is no mark on earth which would be so fine a piece 
of sport for a straggling war-party as four men sleeping 
comfortably round a fire, the light of which would ena- 
ble an enemy to take sure aim, ar.d to secure their 
victims without risk or contest. I remembered also the 
warnings of old Sanitsarish, about " sleeping with one 
eye open," and therefore felt obliged, however unwil- 
lingly, to keep regular watch, which is a heavy addition 
to the fatigue of a party consisting only of four. 

The arrangements I made were as follows : — After 
finishing our supper and pipes, I selected a spot twenty 
or thirty yards from the fire, but quite removed from its 
light, commanding as good a view as possible of the 
neighbouring ground, so that nothing could approach 
very near without being seen or heard ; here I spread my 
large bear-skin, and laid out my double rifle and a double 


gun, (the former loaded with ball, the latter with slugs 
or buck-shot,) and two or three buffalo-skins to keep the 
guard warm while undergoing this temporary banish- 
ment from the fire. Whether we were to watch in pairs 
or singly, we arranged among ourselves according as we 
felt sleepy or in a humour for a chat; each watch con- 
sisted of two hours, though sometimes, by mutual agree- 
ment, we divided the night into two halves. 

I never felt so much disposed for gentle thoughts, or 
for serious meditation, as while lying thus, in the midst 
of a trackless wilderness, with no sound to divert my 
attention save the fitful howling of the wolves, and with 
my eyes fixed upon the illimitable vault above, peopled 
with starry worlds ; so long and so earnestly would I 
gaze at them, that, without the aid of science, the re- 
lative position of many of thern became familiar to me. 
I endeavoured to distinguish the various clusters and 
constellations from the " wandering fires that move in 
mystic dance, not without song ;" and while thus con- 
templating their infinite number and harmonious march, 
I felt that they are indeed the poetry of heaven, and with 
a language mightier than speech, declare the glory of 
their Maker, buch meditations, while they elevate the 
mind above the coai'ser pleasures and occupations of 
life, tend, at the same time, to waken the memory and 
soften the heart to its more tender associations ; and there 
is no time or place where beloved and distant friends are 
more affectionately remembered, than on the wanderer's 
solitary bear-skin couch in the wilderness. 

On the 16th we took a good breakfast of our thick 
soup at dawn ; and, desiring the men to fill two empty 
bottles which remained to us, with water, and to put 
some also into the coffee-pot, started in the direction of 
the buffalo track winch I l)ad yesterday selected. We 
soon reached it, and wound our way up the long defile 
■with no little fatigue and difficulty, especially among the 
pack-horses, which were able to crawl only very slowly 
up some of the steeper parts of the ascent. As I kept 
always several hundred yards in advance of the party, in 
order to select and to point oui the best line of march, I 
thereby had a better chance of shooting any stray buffalo 


or antelope which might be near our route. On this day 
I saw a good many of the latter ; they were very shy, 
but after several unsuccessful attempts I shot one, and 
took only the saddle, as I did not wish to add to the load 
of our horses, several of which were so jaded, and galled 
in the back, that I much feared that, without extreme 
care, they would never reach the settlements. 

We pursued our march till noon in a direction nearly 
north ; this was much out of our line fur the fort, but I 
felt sure that we should thereby come sooner to water 
than if I had gone east-north-east. After halting for an 
hour to rest ourselves and horses, we resumed our pro- 
gress, which we continued many hours without seeing 
any symptoms of a river or stream, except one small line 
of alders. I halted the party while I went to examine 
it, and had the satisfaction of finding the dry bed of what 
may be a very pretty stream in early spring, but upon 
the sand and stones of which the rays of the hot sun 
were now reflected with increased intensity. This was 
not a consolatory prospect for the heated and thirsty tra- 
veller, so I had nothing to do but put a bullet in my 
mouth (from which I experienced some relief), and re- 
turn to my party. 

Toward the evening T again observed indications of 
water in the distance ; and on repealing the same experi- 
ment, was delighted to find in several parts of the dry 
river bed fresh tracks of buffaloes, and some symptoms 
of moisture ; this convinced me that a search would bo 
rewarded ; accordingly I had not proceeded along its 
course more than a quarter of a mile before I found a 
large hole or hollow, in which the water was not dried 
up; on tasting it I found it warm and somewhat disa- 
greeable from stagnation, but I knew that neither man 
nor horse was in a mood to be very nice. I accordingly 
went to the top of a small hillock and made them signs 
to advance, which they were not slow in obeying. 

When they arrived, I was afraid that they would drink 
up the puddle altogether ; but having secured this as a 
dernier resort, I prosecuted my searcli down the stream, 
and soon found a larger puddle of water somewhat 
fresher, and near it some dry broken branches and 


plenty of biiffc^o fuel : here we encaQiped for the night, 
and I congratulated myself not a little on my success in 
finding this water, as the Indians had told me that to the 
jiorlh ihere was none for two days' journey. Had I 
gone to the east, I might have travelled three or four 
days without finding water among the dry ridges which 
separate the sources of the smaller tributaries of the 
Kanzas on one side, and of the Arkansas on ihe other. 
I computed this day's journey at thirty miles, course 

In preparing our supper we repeated with success 
an expedient to w^hich we had resorted on Saline or 
Snake Creek; namely, to dig a deep hole in the sand, 
near the puddle or pool, if possible lower than it; in a 
very short time the water makes its way to this new 
reservoir ; and being filtered by the sand through which 
it passes, becomes both clean and more palatable. I 
had more than once seen the Indians adopt this plan, 
which should be known to every western traveller. 

The morning of the 17th dawned very freshly. I 
think the dew of the past night was one of the heaviest 
that I had ever observed ; everything that we had not 
carefully covered was as wet as if it had rained all night, 
and it was extremely difficult to keep our guns from rust- 
ing. We had much difficulty in catching our horses ; for 
though they were all well liobbled, the grass was so short 
that I had picketted them too, and oiie of the Indian ani- 
mals seemed to ramble almost as well with his hobbles 
on as if he was free. My Scotch servant, whose office it 
was to collect them, was absent nearly two hours, and 
his visage on his return was as long and miserable as 
can well be imagined. It must be owned that two hours' 
horse-hunting before breakfast is not a good preparation 
for a day's march, but the man was extremely slow and 
sulky ; had he been willing and active, I believe the 
horses might have been collected in half an hour. 

After marching seven or eight miles, I descried a few 
buffaloes upon some heights about a mile to the left of 
our line of march. As we had no fresh meat, I thought 
this might be a good opportunity of procuring some : I 
accordingly halted the parly, and dismounted, as I could 


not venture to run my faithful roan while on so arduous 
a journey. The ground bemg steep and broken was 
very favourable for stalking; accordingly, I crept along 
the ravines till I came within a few hundred yards of 
the buffaloes, which were lazily pursuing their way to 
the north, stopping every now and then to feed on the 
sweet though short hill pasture. As I approached thena 
I was obliged to use much caution, owinoj to the direc- 
tion of the wind, by which I was compelled to make a 
considerable circuit ; but I contrived to reach an ex- 
cellent position undiscovered, whence I observed with 
great satisfaction that the smallest and fattest lingered 
fifty yards behind the rest. I waited till they all dis- 
appeared over the ridge, and till he had just reached its 
summit : as his stern was turned toward me, I made a 
little noise on purpose to attract his attention ; he turned 
to look toward me, and thus gave a fair shot at his heart : 
I was fortunate enough to hit it, for he did not go three 
yards from the spot before he fell. 

1 now made signs to my parly to advance, which they 
did, and we commenced our butchering operations, 
which certainly were of the most uncouth and untechni- 
cal nature. As I was determined to spare our horses as 
much as possible, I would not allow more than sixty or 
seventy pounds of meat to be cut ; consequently, we se- 
lected the best parts, as the ribs and hump, the tongue, 
heart, and liver, &;c., and slinging them over our pack- 
horses, began our descent toward a point in the valley 
below, where a winding line of green gave evidence, 
or rather promise, of a stream, by which we could wash 
our blood-stained hands and arms, and also cook our 
mid-day meal of fresh meat. 

We had marched forward about two miles, and I was 
as usual several hundred yards in advance of the party, 
when, on turning round to see if they were following on 
the right track, something in motion on the sky line, or 
on the very summit of the hills which we had just left, 
caught my eye. A moment's observation sufficed to 
convince me that it was on the spot where I had killed the 
buffalo, and I thought at first that the objects which had 
attracted my attention might be a few wolves devouring 


the carcass; but upon examining with my telescope, 1 
saw clearly three men stooping over the buffalo, and their 
horses feeding near them. I hoped that the group might 
be a white party of trappers, but a longer and more care- 
ful look enabled me to see that they were Indians; of 
course, I had no means of distinguishing of what tribe 
or nation they might be. Having balled my party and 
allowed them to examine through the glass these new 
actors on the stage, it became necessary that we should 
at once determine upon the course to be pursued. 

It was perfectly evident that from their elevated situa- 
tion, they could see us distinctly, as our pack-horses, 
with their various burthens, and indeed our own differ- 
ently coloured habiliments, rendered us a conspicuous 
object on a prairie. I thought it, therefore, the most ad- 
visable plan to go straight toward them, and ascertain if 
possible their tribe and their intentions ; if these were 
hostile, we could not escape by flight ; if they were 
friendly, it would only be a waste of half an hour; and 
if they were doubtful, a show of confidence would be the 
surest means of keeping them quiet. In truih, I did not 
feel very easy about the matter ; because, although we 
had nothing to fear from an open attack by three men, I 
did not know how many companions they might have 
lurking about the ravines in the hills, and even if they 
had none, they themselves might have been somewhat 
dangerous neighbours had they hovered upon our trail, 
and attacked us or run away with our horses in the night. 

These considerations (which pass quicker through the 
mind than over a sheet of paper) induced me to go im- 
mediately low'ard them. As V v.'as still weak from 

his bruises, and had his arm in a sling, I armed the 
younger of our attendants (in whose coolness and self- 
possession, in case of a skirmish, I could place more re- 
liance than in that of the elder) with the double-barrelled 
gun and a pistol. I took my own double-barrelled rifle 
and a pistol also ; and desiring V and my own ser- 
vant, who were to be left with the baggage, to collect it 
and all the animals together, and to get ready their pistols 
in the event of matters becoming serious, I rode slowly, 
with my young companion, to see what these children of 
the desert might be. 


When I reached a small height, which was about half 
way between them and our haliing-place, I raised my 
handkerchief on the point of my ramrod, and made sig- 
nals to them ; but, perceiving none in answer, continued 
my course toward them. I now saw them leave the car- 
cass of the buffalo, spring on their horses, and disappear 
behind tlie hill. A moment after, 1 saw them again on 
the ridge pacing at speed, and entering a large ravine : on 
following its course with my eye, I saw that it opened 
upon the plain not far from the spot where we had left 
our two companions and the baggage. 

I had now little doubt of their hostile intentions, as it 
was easy to see that the cunning rogues had taken a 
course which might enable them to charge upon the bag- 
gage while we were still mounting the hill ; but a ravine 
which was close to me, and which terminated also near 
the same point in the valley, enabled me to defeat their 
intention, as they had nearly double the distance to go. 
Accordingly, I went down into it, and cantered back to 
intercept tliem : here we were, of course, out of sight 
both of them and our own friends, and in talking over 
the occurrence in the evening, the latter told me, that this 
was ifie most unpleasant part of the affair to them ; they 
could not see us, and knew not where we were and what 
we were about, but they could see the Indians coming 
toward them at full speed. Moreover, I and my young 
companion had with us all the best arms, and they had 
nothing left wherewith to protect themselves but two or 
three pistols and their knives, together with my short 
sword, which my servant had drawn ready for service. 

On arriving at the poiut which I wished to reach, and 
which was exactly between the Indians and our baogafre- 
party, I desired my young attendant to get ready his gun ; 
and if they came on in hostile fashion to present it, but 
on no account to fire till I gave the word : then to shoot 
the left-hand man, and keep his other barrel for either of 
the two that I might miss. I saw that the lad was made 
of g0(^d stuff; for he was perfectly cool, and said he 
would hold straight, and promised not to pull the trigger 
till I gave the word. 

The Indians now came on at speed. They were 

Vol. II.— C 


painted about the face, and wore on iheir bare beads the 
single scalp-lock. One had a kind of remnant of blanket 
thrown round liim, the others were naked; so it was im- 
possible for me to judge to what tribe ihey might belong. 
When they came within about a hundred yards, they had 
their arrows fitted to their bows, and 1 called to my young 
lad to present — I knew that they would not think of shoot- 
ing till they came within fifty yards. I now rose in my 
stirrups, and making the Pawnee sign, called out as loud 
as I could speak, "Are you Pawnees?" At this they 
checked their horses ; and although they still kept their 
bows and arrows ready, one made the answering sign 
with his right hand. I then called out to them to put 
down their bows, for we were brothers. 

After a moment's consultation they did so, and we 
lowered our ^uns. I then proceeded to inform them by 
signs, and by such words as I could command, that " I 
had been with their people, and that we must be friends." 
Upon this they shook hands with us ; but were much 
surprised, for they had not been in the village during our 
stay there, as was evident from the curious and careful 
observations which they bestowed upon us, and all be- 
longing to us ; and they gave vent to several " Ughs," 
when I told them that I had slept in the lodge of Sanit- 
sarish, and my companion in that of Pe-te-le-sharoo. 

We novv advanced together, and joined V and my 

servant, who were not a little relieved when they saw 
that peace, and not war, was to be the order of the day. 
We took out our kinnekinik-bag, sat down with our new 
friends in a semicircle, passed round the pipe, and began 
such a conversation as we were able to maintain. See- 
ing that two of them wore neither blanket nor robe, I was 
sure that they were not far distant from their party; and, 
upon asking them where their companions were, they 
pointed west, adding the sign of half a day's journey. I 
learned that they were many, and were on their return to 
their lodges at the village. J asked if their squaws and 
children were with them, and they "said, "No." From 
this I was convinced that they were out upon a war or 
horse-stealing excursion, and asked them if they had got 
many horses. They put on a demure look of gravity, 
and said, '•' It is not good to take horses !" 


Although stealing horses is one of the greatest merits 
and accomplishments of a Pawnee, they do not like to 
confess such an occupation to a wiiite man, as it is dis- 
couraged by the United Slates, who always threaten them 
with breaking off their treaty with them if they continue 
this practice ; but in this vast wilderness the threat is 
empty, and horse-stealing continues. 

Being now upon friendly terms with the one who 
seemed leader of the party, I made him the sign that he 
was telling untruth ; and, pointing to the paint with 
which he had adorned himself, and to his arrows, which 
w^ere barbed, and not headed for hunting, I told him that 
" I had eyes, and that he was a warrior." He grinned, 
and made no further attempt to deny the charge. 

I extracted another smile from their guarded features 
when I pointed to where I had killed the buffalo, and 
asked them, " If we white men had not cut it up well ?" 
They might indeed smile, for such an attempt at butchery 
had never been seen ; and I suppose they could not un- 
derstand the meaning of four men travelling and leaving 
iwo-thirds of the meat of one animal, which the same 
number of Pawnees would have eaten in two days ! But 
one of them pointed towards his heart, then made the 
buffalo sign, and then touched the barrel of my rifle ! 
after which he shook his head, and said, " It was great or 
good ;" meaning, that in examining the carcass they had 
discovered that the buffalo had been killed by one shot in 
the heart. 

After idling away half an hour in this manner, we pre- 
pared to resume our march, and gave them a few small 
pieces of tobacco, and a paper of damaged vermilion, 
which had been left in one of our bags ; they seemed 
well pleased, shook hands with us ag;iin, jumped on their 
active wiry little horses, shook their laryettes, and went 
off toward the west at a gallop. 

Thus ended an occurrence which terminated very dif- 
ferently from what I expected ; for, had it been a party 
of Sioux, or Shiennes, or Aricaras, (any of which tribes 
we were equally likely to fall in with,) my calling out the 
name of Pawnee when they approached would, probably, 
have lead to an immediate discharge of arrows on their 


part : but, even in that eveni, I scarcely think they wonid 
have ventured to gallop in broad day close up to the muz- 
zles of two guns pointed deliberately toward them ; they 
would more probably have wheeled about, and brought 
more of their companions, or else have hovered on our 
trail, and attacked us at night. As it was, the fooUsh 
fellows ran no little risk b} the abrupt and threatening 
attitude in which they came down upon us ; for, certainly, 
if they had advanced twenty yards nearer in the same 
manner, I should have felt it my duty to give the word 
" fire," and we could scarcely have missed our aim at so 
short a distance. However, I was very glad to see the 
mailer come to a peaceful issue, although it may have 
thereby lost the dignity of being termed *' an adventure." 
We continued cur march for about eight or ten miles 
Korth-north-east, when we reached a comfortable camp- 
ing-place abounding in dry wood. Here we halted, un- 
loaded our horses, and lighted a fire. While my com- 
panions were spreading the meat to dry, and preparing 
our meal, I sat with pencil and pocket-book in hand com- 
mitting the above particulars to writing. 


March resumeJ. — Our Night Camp. — False Alarm. — Rules for Travel- 
ling in the Prairies. — Solitary Indian Traveller. — Indian Trails. — 
Arrival at the Banks of a large Stream. — Herds of Antelopes. — Wild 
Grapes and Plums — Culinary Invention. — Watery Labyrinth. — • 
Discovery of an Indian Trail. — Pursuit of its Course. — Loss of our 
Horses. — Search for and Recovery of them. — Annoyance by Musqai- 
toes. — Discovery of a larger Trail. — -Determination to fallow it. — A 
Jungle. — Amusing Perplexity. — Approach to the Kanzas River. — 
Gratitude to Heaven. — Exultation of the Party. — Ruins of an Indian 
Village. — Fording the River. — An old Indian Camp. — Trouble iii 
making a Fire. — My new patent Grate. — ^Hot Soup. 

Our fresh buffalo made us an excellent soup ; and we 
marched on again in the afternoon in high spirits, which 
means (as the French say of the Englisli) " ayant bien 
mangel As we had not daylight enough to make a very 
long march, and the stream which we had found bore 


somewhat to the northward of east, I determined not to 
lose sight of it, in case I might not find another for our 
night-camp. Accordingly, after following its course eight 
or ten miles, the dusk came on, and we camped again — • 
prepared our supper, hobbled our horses, smoked our 
pipes, and lay down to rest. I recommended that a very 
careful watch should be kept, as we knew not how near 
our mischievous neighbours might be ; and, although we 
had parted on friendly terms with the three whom we had 
seen, there was nothing more probable than that half a 
dozen of their companions should pay us a visit during 
the night, and ease us of our horses. 

The night was dark, I was asleep, and it was the at- 
tendants' watch, when one of them woke me gently, and 
said he thought there was some mischief on foot, as he 
heard indistinct noises which he did not understand. I 
took my rifle, and crawled a little way in the direction to 
which he pointed. It was evident that something bad. 
alarmed our horses, for they snorted and moved about 
more than was usual after a long march. I crawled 
fifty yards further, and listened for some time attentive- 
ly, when I become convinced that whatever might have 
disturbed the horses, there was no Indian driving them 
off at present, for I could hear them, moving about in- 
deed, but preserving still the same relative distance ; but 
I could not see them, nor indeed any other object five 
yards off. However, on looking towards our fire,, of 
which my position commanded a view, I experienced 
no slight uneasiness at observing what a fair mark those 
lying by it would offer to any Indians who could creep 
undiscovered to the spot which I now occupied: this 
was an evil for which there was no remedy except sleep- 
ing without a fire, and the freshness of the nights and 
cold heavy dews, rendered the risk incurred, great though 
it was, preferable to such an expedient. 

Finding that another quarter of an hour spent in listen- 
ing brought no new sounds to the ear, and that the si- 
lence was interrupted onl}^ by the ordinary movements of 
the horses feeding, and the distant howling of the wolves, 

I returned to the fire-side. V , who had crept out 

some fifty yards in an opposite direction, gave the same 



report ; and, as our walch had nearly arrived, we told 
the oihers to go to rest. I drew my buffalo-skin around 
ine, and whiled away my appointed time, like the warder 
of old keeping tlie protracted watch, " Stretched on the 
ground like a dog, gazing at the starry hosts of night, 
those brilliant rulers sljining forth in the heavens, and 
bringing to mortals the changes of summer and winter."* 
In the morning we found the horses at no great distance 
from the place where we had turned them out, and came 
to the conclusion that their alarm in the nighl had been 
occasioned by some straggling wolf, which had intruded 
his undesired company upon them. 

It is an inconvenience attending a long prairie march 
that the traveller usually desires (in order to avoid toiling 
through the extreme heat of noon) to start at or before the 
dawn of morning, which is precisely the lime when his 
horses are taking iheir best and most refreshing food, for 
the grass is then cool and wet with dew ; so that my 
experience leads me to believe, that it is better, in a prai- 
rie journey in August, not to start before seven in the 
morning: because, if the march is a toilsome one, I have 
ofien observed that the horses feed a very short time 
when they are turned loose in the evening, before they 
lie down to rest ; of course, if they are loaded or saddled 
next morning at half-past four or iive, they have no time 
to feed. 

On the 18th we pursued our course, north by east : 
this was not exactly the direction in which I wished to tra- 
vel, but tw© considerations induced me to adopt it at this 
part of the journey. In the first place, it enabled me to 
keep along the dividing ridge ; an advantage so great, 
and so well understood by all prairie travellers, that it 
is worth making a circuit of several miles a day to keep 
it; and the Indian trails which we have crossed since 

' See the opening of that magnificent ancient drama the Agamcmaion 
of ^schylus : — 

(ppovpug (ereifif) /LtTJKcc, yv Koi/ico/ievo^ 


uarpuv KUTot^a vvKTspuv o/ap/vpiv 

Kal Toi'^ (pfpovrag ;^;f </ia Kal fJipog (ipoTOig 

?.afX7rpovg dvvuarag — efinp^Trovrag aWept, k. r. A. 


our residence in the wilderness, convince me that the 
savages pay the greatest attention to this mailer. In a 
wide extent of country composed of a succession of 
hills and ridges, it is evident there must be a great num- 
ber of steep banks, which offer to an inexperienced tra- 
veller numerous obstacles, rendering his own progress 
most toilsome, and that of loaded pack-horses almost 
impossible. If these ridges all ran in parallel lines, and 
were regular in their formation, nothing would be more 
simple than to get upon the summit of one, and keep it 
for the whole day's journey: but such is not the case; 
they constantly meet other ridges running in a transverse 
direction ; and, of course, large dips and ravines are con- 
sequent upon that meeting. The " dividmg ridge " of a 
district is that which, while it is as it were the back-bone 
of the range of which it forms a part, heads at the same 
lime all the transverse ravines, whether on the right or 
on the left hand, and thereby spares to the traveller an 
infinity of toilsome ascent and desaent. 

I have sometimes observed that an Indian trail wound 
through a country in a course perfectly serpentine, and 
appeared to me to travel three miles when only one was 
necessary. It was not till my own practical experience 
had made me attend more closely to this matter, that I 
learned to appreciate its importance. I think that the 
first quality in a guide through an unknown range of roll- 
ing prairie, is having a good and quick e-ye for hitting off 
the " dividing ridge ;" the second perhaps, in the western 
wilderness, is a ready and almost intuitive perception (so 
often found in an Indian) of ihe general character of a 
country, so as to be able to bring his parly to water 
when it is very scarce. 

]\Iy other reason for pursuing a course rather more 
northerly than the direct compass line to the fort, was^ 
that it would bring me sooner to the Kanzas river, and 
as soon as I could see that, 1 felt sure that we should 
reach the settlements in safety, whatever inconvenience 
we might experience from scant provisions or rough 

A little before noon, I halted for a moment to give the 
rest of the party time to come up, and made a careful ex- 


amination of the surrounding country from an elevated 
point on vvhicli I was sealed. I could see no buffiilo ; 
but with my telescope could make out several small 
herds of antelopes, vecy far from our course. I spied 
also a man on horseback, at a very great distance, on a 
sloping range to the westward ; he seemed to be going 
in a diagonal direction to the north-west, and as far as I 
could make out, he was an Indian, wearing a blanket ; 
he evidently had not seen or took no notice of our parly. 
Indeed it was hardly possible for him to see us wiih the 
naked eye, as I could see him but very indistinctly with 
my glass. However, I thought it might be as well to halt 
until he disappeared over the distant sky line of the hill. 
This I did, because I wished to keep clear of all Indians, 
whether friendly or hostile; and it is well known that an 
object at a distance which is not perceptible to the eye 
vv^hile at rest, may be easily discerned as soon as it is 
put in motion. 

A few miles farther we crossed an old Indian trail (I 
think it was of a Pawnee party, for it bore north by west, 
which must have been about ihe direction of their village 
from this spot); it had not been a war-party, as was evi- 
dent from the character of the trail. A war-party leaves 
only the trail of the horses, or, of course, if it be a foot 
parly, the still lighter tracks of their own feet; but when 
they are on their summer hunt, or migrating from one 
region to another, they lake their squaws and children 
with them, and this trail can always be distinguished 
from the former, by two parallel tracks about three and 
a half feet apart, not unlike those of a light pair of 
wheels: these are made by the points of the long curved 
poles on which their lodges are stretched, ihe thickest or 
butt ends of which are fastened to each side of the pack- 
saddle, while the points trail behind the horse ; in cross- 
ing rough or boggy places, this is often found the most 
inconvenient part of an Indian camp equipage. 

After marching for an hour or two, we came to a large 
stream, bearing in this part of its course east-norih-east. 
I determined to follow this as far as it might prove fa- 
vourable to our destination. We proceeded- along its 
margin twelve or fourteen miles, without meeting with 


any buffalo ; indeed, the fresh trails of these animals, and 
other indications of them were here so scarce that I did 
not expect to fall in with any of them. We saw a num- 
ber of antelopes : I made several unsuccessful attempts 
to entice them to approach ; but my horse was too hard- 
worked, and the day too hot, to admit of my going out of 
my way in pursuit of them. 

At noon we halted near a point where one or two 
muddy creeks joined the stream which we had been fol- 
lowing, and seemed likely to impede our farther pro- 
gress : the banks of these were covered with half-ripe 
grapes and plums, a luxury so new and rendered so 
tempting, by the heat and toil of the journey, that we ate 
them too eagerly. If I mistake not, more than one of the 
parly had cause to repent of having deserted the honest 
buffalo-soup for these sour fruits. I must own, how- 
ever, that when we did find any that were ripe, they were 
most grateful and refreshing to the palate. 

Here again I displayed my genius for culinary inven- 
tion, for I determined to have a second course to our 
dinner ; and after each of the party had brought his hat 
and pockeis full of plums, I selected some of the ripest, 
and bruised them in one of our pots, added sugar and a 
little water, and upon this great experiment we agreed to 
lavish a glass of our remaining half bottle of brandy, 
which we also threw in, and allowed the whole to sim- 
mer pver the fire for a quarter of an hour. By what 
name this strange mess should be called I know not ; but 
whether pudding, tart, or stewed plums, we voted it ex- 
cellent, although there was still left in it acid and bitter 
enough to make an English schoolboy draw up the cor- 
ners of his mouth and eyes and vote it execrable, unless 
under one of two circumstances — namely, that of having 
stolen it,or of having concocted it himself; either of which 
would make the urchin relish gall stewed in vinegar ! 

While the rest of the party were preparing and fasten- 
ing the packs, I went to explore our farther route. The 
muddy creeks which I before mentioned, were so wind- 
ing, that even crossing them, which was not easy, would 
be no security against having to repeat the same opera- 
tion a dozen times : reflecting that other parties, ^either 


biped or quadruped, must have come to this impractica- 
ble labyrinth of vTater before me, I determined to search 
for some track by which I might guide my course. This 
experiment succeeded beyond my utmost hopes, for I 
was foriiuiale enough to find an Indian trail bearing north 
by east, which was as near to our destined course as 
these odious creeks would permit us to go. We struck 
into it, and it brought us safely, though not without diffi- 
culty, through the tangled and muddy bottom in which 
we had been involved : sometimes a horse floundered, 
and more than once a pack came off; but upon the 
whole we had great reason to congratulate ourselves 
upon having found this trail, by which we escaped in two 
hours from a place which would, without its assistance^ 
probably have detained us two days. 

I was by no means anxious to part with so good a 
friend, and proceeded some miles upon this same trail ; 
it was very old and indistinct, especially in the high and 
dry parts of the prairie. I left my horse with the rest of 
the parly and went on foot, in order that I might more 
easily follow the trail, which became almost impercepti- 
ble as we reached an elevated dislrici of table-land, which 
had been burnt so close that I very often lost the track 
altogether for fifty yards. If a fire takes place on a 
prairie where there is already a distinct trail, it is as 
easy to follow it, if not more so than before ; because the 
short and beaten grass offering no food to the fire, partly 
escapes its fury, and remains a green line upon a sea of 
black ; but if the party making the trail pass over a 
prairie which is already burnt, on the succeeding season 
when the new grass has grow^n, it can scarcely be traced 
by any eye but that of an Indian. 

As this last was the condition of the trail we were now 
following, I resorted to an expedient which partly suc- 
ceeded : this was to divide our party and make them go 
abreast twenty or thirty yards apart ; thus, when one 
missed the trail another would hit upon it, and give notice 
of his success. In this manner we proceeded till three 
or four o'clock, p. m. We had by this time observed 
that the party whose trail we were following had, in many 
places, straggled as we were doing, which rendered the 


tracing them very difficult ; and on a barren hard elevated 
ridge, which we had to pass, we were obliged to give it 
up altogether ; however, we were fortunate enough to 
see a large creek in the plain below us, to which we 
bent our way and encamped. 

While my companions prepared the supper, I again 
set forth in search of the lost trail, knowing that by fol- 
lowing the course of the creek I must in time reach the 
place w^here the party had passed it ; and I could not 
fail there to distinguish it, because it is always strongly 
marked on the softer soil and richer vegetation on the 
banks of a stream. It was the more desirable to discover 
it, because I was thereby sure of finding a practicable 
crossing place : whereas, in the neighbourhood of our 
encampment, the creek was muddy and deep, wiih banks 
so soft and tangled with brushwood, as to prevent the 
possibility of crossing it with pack-horses. After a long 
and patient search, 1 came toihe long sought trail, which 
was about three miles to the west of ov^p^camp, and so 
much higher up the stream. The Indian paity had 
evidently found the only place where it w^as fordable by 
horses, for a distance of some miles ; and on examining 
the Hack close by, I found that they had consisted of a 
large number of mounted men, and had halted near this 
spot at mid-day, but had not passed the night there. 

It requires no great experience or observation of Indian 
life to enable a prairie traveller to distinguish a mid-day 
from a night camping-place : in the former he will often 
find some cut branches under which the'party had shel- 
tered themselves from the heat of the noon sun ; in the 
lalter, generally some scraps of charred wood, or round 
marks in the grass, showing where a fire had been made. 
Even where neither of these indications exists, there are 
others equally clear to a practised eye ; and comparing 
these together, an Indian will make a very shrewd 
guess at the number, boih of the party itself and their 
horses, whether the former were all male or of both 
sexes, how many days have elapsed since they passed, 
whether they made a short or a long halt, and to what 
tribe or nation they belonged. 

I now returned in high spirits to the camp, and forgot 


the toils of ibe day in a good supper and refreshing sleep. 
In the morning we were niiich annoyed at missing our 
horses ; in vain we went to the lop of the nearest hill, 
not a trace of them was lo be seen. I began to fear that 
they had been driven off by Indians, or that they had 
taken our back trail. The latter was m(jre probable, as 
none of the waichers pleaded guiliy of having slept. An 
examination of ihe ground near which they had been 
turned out to feed over night confirmed this belief, as 
we could distinctly track them in thai direction as far as 
the ground was soft. But I observed with great vexa- 
tion that they had certainly gone off early, as the dew 
had fallen since their hoof-prints had been left. There 
W'as no remedy now but a general search; and leaving 
one of the party to guard the camp, the remaining three 
set off in pursuit. I cautioned the other two on no ac- 
count to follow so carelessly or so far as to lose them- 
selves in attempting to find the horses ; and we agreed 
to keep as much as possible on the heights, in order 
that we might inform each other by signals, in case of 

After along and tedious search, we overtook the fugi- 
tives going deliberately back on our trail of the previous 
day, led by a cunning old Indian nag, which almost al- 
ways contrived to slip his hobbles, even when they were 
tied tight enough to scarify the skin on his legs. Some 
were still hobbled, and moving along in the ungainly kind 
of walking canter or kangaroo gait, which a horse must 
adopt when he wishes to travel with his legs tied together. 
Fortunately they had fed a little by the way, or we might 
have had the pleasure of following them thirty miles in- 
stead of five or six. We drove them back to the camp ; 
and 1 could not help apostrophizing my faitliful roan, and 
asking her how she cotild be such a fool as to add a 
dozen miles to her own and her master's journey for the 
day, and to allow herself to be led away from her home- 
course by an ignorant uncivilized Pawnee pack-horse. 

On the 19ih we still followed the Indian trail, with 
some difBculty, but without meeting with any accident 
or serious obstacle. We saw a few wolves, antelopes, 
and some very large rattle-snakes ; we also picked up a 


mocassin, which had been dropped near the trail ; from 
its material (elk-skin) and fashion, it was evident that the 
parly had not been Pawnees : but none of us were suffix 
cienily experienced to pronounce to what tribe they 
belonged. I calculated that we made this day twenty 
miles, beside our morning horse-hunt ; average course, 

May 20th. — The creek by which we had camped was 
low, and we weie devoured by musquitoes. They 
seemed to care neither for fire nor tobacco smoke ; but 
we had become so accustomed to their attacks as to be 
nearly indifferent to them. As for myself, when I slept, 
I was armed in proof against them ; having no blanket, 
I rolled myself up in my highland plaid, which com- 
pletely covered my head and face, and was at the same 
lime of such fine texture as not to annoy me by im- 
peding respiration. 

After we had travelled about five hours (course north- 
cast by east), I found that the^trail which we had been 
following, merged in another and a larger one, which 
appeared to run a point to the west of north. This was 
so far out of our course that I hesitated whether I 
should not leave it altogether; but, upon reflection, I 
determined not to do so, remembering that it must take 
us to the Republican Fork ;* whereas, if I attempted to 
cross the country farther to the eastward, without any 
trail, I should meet with serious difficulties and delays 
from the dense thickets which seemed in this district to 
abound in the bottoms ; where also I should lose much 
time in finding passable fords in ihe steep-banked muddy 
creeks which we should be obliged to cross. 

Moreover, I thought that, if the party whose trail I had 
been following, and who were evidently bound to the 
eastward, (being probably Delawares, Shawtiees, or 
Kickapoos,) had thought fit to take this sudden bend to 
the north, there was probably a reason for it which a few 
miles travel might explain. 1 therefore struck into ity 
and ere long the result justified my conjecture ; for we 
came to a wooded bottom or valley, which was such a 

* A branch of the Kanza* river. 
Vol. it.— D 


complete jungle, and so extensive, that I am sure, if we 
had not been guided by ihe trail, we could not have made 
our way through it in a weel<. As it was, the task was 
no easy one ; ior the trail, though originally large, was 
not very fresh, and the weeds and branches had in many 
places so overgrown it, that I was obliged to dismount 
and trace it out on foot. It wound about with a hundred 
serpentine evolutions to avoid the heavy swamps and 
marshes around us ; and I repeatedly thought that, if we 
lost it, we never should extricate our baggage : even with 
its assistance, we were obliged frequently to halt and 
replace the packs, which were violently forced off by 
the brandies with which they constantly came in contact. 

On emerging from this jungle, it appeared as if our 
predecessors had been as glad as we were to escape 
from it; for they had evidently scattered ihernselves in 
every direction, to halt and make their fires. As I 
wished to make no farther stop until our night-camp, I 
pushed on in a northerly direction, convinced that I 
should ere long strike the trail of the same party which 
I had been following.* 

I was here much amused by an incident which proved 
"to me that my companions (or some of them at least) 
would have made strange work of the office of guide, 
had no one else relieved them of it. 1 had become so 
accustomed to direct my course bv the sun, by the 
bearings of the country, &c., that I did not use my com- 
pass so often as T had previously done ; and on leaving 
this great thicket, I went straight on in a northerly 
direction without consulting it. The two attendants 
were following close behind me, talking together, and I 
heard one of them say to the other in a most doleful 
voice, " Where on earth is he taking us now ? — why we 

* In following the trail of a large body of men, an inexperienced 
guide finds great difficulty in striking it af^Ler coming to a place where 
they have camped, for paths are running in every direction ; some to 
where the horses had been pastured, others to the nearest water, &c. 
The safest way to avoid becoming hereby confused is to pay no atten- 
tion to the ground marks, but to keep straight on in the general direction 
which the trail had borne previous to reaching the camuing-place, and 
then a very short time spent in examining the groutid will be sufficient 
to enable him to hit it olT again. 


are going back in the same direction as we caine !" I 
turned round and asked llie speaker where he thought 
our true course lay, telling him to point with his finger 
to the quarter which he would make for if he were 
guiding the party to Fort Leavenworth. He did so ; and 
I took out my compass and showed him that he was 
pointing south-west, i e. to Santa Fe and the Gulf of 
CaHfornia : so completely had the poor fellow's head be- 
come puzzled by the winding circuit which we had made 
in the swamp. 

I now rode on in great spirits ; for I felt sure that we 
were approaching that Kanzas river, which had been so 
long and so repeatedly sighed for by all the party^ as the 
point at which all our risks from Indians, or from starv- 
ing, or losing our way, were to cease. Many reasons 
concurred to make me believe that we could not be very 
far from it : first. It was about the place where I ex- 
pected to find it, upon comparing the distance and 
direction we had travelled, with our outward route and 
with the information received from the Indians before 
we left them : and, secondly, The increased fertility of 
the soil and luxuriance of vegetation, together with the 
increased size of the creeks and of the timber in the 
bottoms which we crossed, convinced me that we were 
Rot far from the course of the main river. Having found 
the trail again^ I rode on a mile ahead of the party ; and 
on reaching a high point over which it passed, I saw be- 
fore me, in a large valley, a long bending line of heavy 
massive timber already clothed in the varied tints of 
early autumn, — one look sufl&ced to tell me that it was 
the Kanzas. 

I threw myself from my horse to contemplate the long- 
wished-for prospect. I felt that the worst of our dan- 
gers and difficulties were past. I trust I also felt and 
expressed myself grateful to Him who had enabled me 
to bring my little party to this point of comparative safety 
—who had spared us the privations of hunger and thirst, 
and the pangs of disease which might have resulted from 
such constant exposure to the extremes of heat by day and 
chilly wet by night, and who had enabled us to pursue our 


course without error, and without falling in with any 
bands of hostile Indians by the way. 

While I was yet full of these thoughts, the rest of the 
party approached, and I raised the Pawnee yell, pointed 
to the valley, and shouted aloud " The Kanzas !" They 
rushed forward and satisfied their longing eyes with one 
look. I know not that ever I saw men more extravagant 
in demonstration of joy than we all became : we danced, 
we sung, and called aloud the name of the Kanzas with 
more enthusiasm than was ever vented by the wildest 
German youth on his beloved Rhine. 

Although it had rained all day, and we were soaked 
to the skin, we were in such high spirits as to defy the 
inclemency of the weather ; and, indeed, it mattered 
little whether we were now wet or dry ; for the Kanzas 
was before us, and I determined, if possible, to camp this 
right on the other side of it. In descending toward 
the river, we came to a spot commanding a beautiful 
view of its course, where there had evidently once been 
a permanent Indian village. I know not exactly to what 
tribe it may have belonged, but probably to some band 
or branch of the Pawnees, because that nation had lived 
on the Kanzas, about fifty miles to the west of the spot 
where we now were, before their last war with the Uni- 
ted States ; in which the troops of the latter had sacked 
and completely destroyed their village, and forced them 
to establish themselves in the more remote region water- 
ed by the Platte, and to cede the territory through which 
we were now passing, in consideration of certain pay- 
ments of goods, according to the terms of a treaty to 
which I have before referred. I remember, on our out- 
ward course, one of the Indians pointed out to me the 
site of their old village, and shook his head very dole- 
fully, saying at the same time many words which I could 
not understand ; but which, doubtless signified that it had 
been a sad affair for the Pawnees. 

When we got down into the heavily timbered bottom 
near the river, the trail divided into a hundred branches, 
showing that the party had either separated to rest or to 
?«ek for the best crossing-place. The former I rccom- 


mended to my companions, while I immediately set about 
the latter. After a tedious and patient search, I found 
the place wl]ere the main trail entered the water, but 
with the most careful observation of tlie opposite bank, 
I was unable to see any signs of its continuation on that 
side. While with the Indians, I had remarked that, in 
order to avoid deep water, they sometimes went a long 
way up or down the course of a river; but even with the 
help of my telescope, I could see no sign of the continu- 
ation of our trail. Of course, my office of guide left me 
no choice as to whether I should try and discover the 
ford ; ihoiigh the experiment was noi agreeable, as the 
river was from one hundred and fifty to two hundred 
yards wide, and so swollen and muddy from the present 
and late rain, that it was not easy to ascertain its depth 
otherwise than by sounding. 

I must confess that I am but an indifferent swimmer in 
a strong stream, although I did not on this occasion feel 
any doubt of being able to get across a channel of so in- 
considerable a length. Arming myself with a long pole, 
and throwing off my jacket, I went in. I was soon over 
the middle, before I got half way across, was up to the 
chest, and could not keep my feet, owing to the strength 
of the current ; so I struck out, swam a few strokes, and 
tried again for the bottom, but could not touch it : I there- 
fore thought it better to swim till I was near the bank, as 
this was evidently the deep part of the channel. I did 
so, and came safe to land. After another tedious search 
for the trail, I found it about three hundred yards below 
the place where I had crossed. I now entered the water 
again, and with some trouble made out the ford, and re- 
turned to conduct my companions and the baggage. By 
feeling the way carefullv with my pole, and winding 
along a kind of ridge, which appeared lo be in the bed 
of the river, I was able to get them over without their 
getting wet much above the middle ; and of the animals, 
I believe only the mule and one of the horses were 
obliged to swim a short distance. 

The welting hereby incurred was of little consequence 
to ourselves or baggage, for the river only conipleted 
what the rain had performed almost as successfully, 



And as soon as we were all safe on the north side, we 
were obliged to camp immediately, as it was growing 
dark, and all the activity we possessed was required to 
collect fire-wood, and endeavour to make a good fire for the 
night. We fortunately found an old Indian camp ; some 
of the bent willows, over which the skins had been spread, 
were still in the ground,* and a few remnants of halt-char- 
red wood were scattered about ; but even with these ad- 
vantages, it is inconceivable the trouble which we had 
to kindle a fire ; the grass and the wood were so saturated 
with water, that, although we once or twice succeeded 
in igniting the tinder, we could find nothing to which we 
could make it communicate fire ; nor do 1 think that we 
should have succeeded, had I not thought of a new pa- 
tent kind of grate which does the highest honour to my 
ingenuity : this was nothing less than our frying-pan. 
After rubbing it quite dry, and throwing a skin over the 
willows to prevent the heavy rain from falling into it, we 
split some old wood, got a few dry chips from the heart, 
and built our miniature bonfire in the centre of the fry- 
ing-pan. The expedient succeeded perfectly : as soon 
as we had got four or five square inches of wood fairly 
into a blaze, we transferred it carefully to the ground 
below the warming-pan, and by careful addition of fuel, 
and constant application of human bellows, we soon had 
a very respectable fire, and made a pot of hot soup, which 
the fatigues and constant soaking to which we had been 
all day exposed, rendered most acceptable. 

* I believe that the simple method of making a tent or covering, by 
stretching mats or skins over pliant sticks of wood, the two ends of 
which are fastened in the ground, is common to all the vagrant and no- 
madic tribes on the earth : I have seen them used among many various 
Indian nations, resembling exactly those made by the wandering gyp- 
sies in England. 



Uncomfortable Night. — Our wretched Appearance and forlorn Costume. 
— Unceasing Rain. — Symptoms of Ague. — Fruitless Hunt. — Conso- 
lation in Disappointment. — Pursuit of the Northern Trail. — Lucky 
Discovery. — Arrival at our old Camping-place. — Diminution of our 
Provisions. — Forced Marches. — Pursuit of a Flock of Turkeys and 
a Fawn. — A gray Badger shot and eaten. — A Thunder-storm. — Re- 
lics of our former Halting-place. — Our miserable Plight. — Grouse, or 
Prairie-hen. — Unsuccessful Search for Deer. — A Tangled District. — - 
Privations. — March resumed. — Vicissitudes of Temperature. — Mer- 
riment of the younger John. — Indian Trails. — Horse-flies. — Flowers 
of the Prairie. — Approach to the Missouri. — Welcome Signs of Ci- 
vilization. — An Amusing Difficulty. — Hospitable Reception at the 

July 22d. — I do not remember ever to have spent a 
more uncomfortable night than the last : it rained with- 
out ceasing, and the most constant exertion was requi- 
site to prevent the fire from being quite extinguished. 
As it was, instead of a blaze, it emitted a kind of sultry, 
cheerless glare, and, instead of heat, a hissing, frizzing 
sound, w-ith volumes of smoke. We were lying in the 
same clothes in which we had crossed the river, and the 
rain was so continuous, that we were actually in puddles 
of water. Buffalo-skins, when thoroughly drenched, are 
the most cold, soapy, comfortless covering that can be 
used : so that I was warmer, when w^rnpped only in my 
light highland plaid, than under the thickest robe in our 
collection. We contrived, however, by the help of dou- 
ble and treble folds of the fly-ient, to keep our powder, 
flour, and some of the provisions, tolerably dry. Blow- 
ing and feeding the fire was our only occupation all the 
night, and all the following day ; hot soup was our only 
consolation ! Indeed, 1 never saw a more ragged, wretch- 
ed, vagabond group than we now appeared ; and I regret 
very much that there was no artist present, who could 
give a faithful sketch of us in our various costumes, as 
we sat huddled round our dim and smoky fire, each en- 


deavourincT to extract a small blaze to warm some fa- 
voured part of his person. 

My companion V , whose last pair of trousers had 

yielded to the combined influence of time and hard rid- 
ing, was dressed in a pair of shrivelled, light, wash- 
lealher drawers, no stockings, and a pair of mocassins 
over his feet, while his shoulders were enveloped in a 
blanket which covered the remains of what had been 
shirt and jacket. I was siuing with an old woollen co- 
loured nightcap on my head, a faded shirt of printed cali- 
co, without a neckcloth, and with beard and mustaches 
of unshorn, irregular growth; wliile my neiher man was 
protected by a pair of coarse corduroy breeches without 
drawers, and plastered to my skin with wet ; gray worst- 
ed stockings full of holes, and shoes full of water. 

Our two attendants were no bad companions to the pre- 
ceding portraits, especially my Scotch servant, who add- 
ed to the picturesque scarcity of his habiliments, a vi- 
sage of most dolorous and ridiculous length. The pas- 
sage through the late thickets had literally torn to shreds 
what had once been a pair of cloth trousers, and liis 
knees and shins, thus exposed to view, bore many maiks 
of the greetings which they had met from various kinds 
of brushwood. No less ragged was the dirty blanket 
which enveloped his shoulders ; and his condition would 
have moved pity rather than mirth, had it not been for 
the determination he evinced to be miserable, which con- 
trasted strongly with the good-humoured efforts of the 
younger lad to make the best of the case, and to cheer 
himself and the rest of the party with such sallies of 
mirth and hope as naturally arose out of our condition. 
Among these, none were more frequent than his antici- 
pations of the havoc he would make (as soon as we 
reached the Fort) among his mother's buckwheat cakes, 
and "the sort of way" in which he would dip his muz- 
zle into a great bowl of buttermilk ! 

On the 23d, our condition was yet more pitiable ! It 
had rained throughout the preceding day and night, mak- 
ing in all nearly forty-eight hour* that we ourselves, with 
ail our clothes ami the greater part of our baggage, had 
heen soaked in wet. It seemed impossible that we 


should escape colds, rheumatism, ague, et hoc genus 
omne ; indeed, 1 heard around me sundry complaints of 
a sensation of sliivering, and of severe pains in the 
bones ; but, upon the whole, the health of the party, con- 
sidering the circumstances, was most surprising. As for 
myself, 1 did not suffer any pain or annoyance whatever ; 
I managed to keep myself warm during the day by mov- 
ing about, collecting and carrying wood, nursing the fire, 
&c. ; and at night, placing my feet close to it, and wrap- 
ped in my highland plaid, I slept as soundly as if I had 
been in a dry bed. 

About noon, the weather cleared, and we began to dry 
our meat, baggage, 6cc. The lad took a ramble with his 
fowling-piece, and saw some turkeys and three elks, but 
he could not get near enough for a shot ; so he returned 
and asked me to go in search of them with him. I took 
my rifle and went to the spot, but we could see nothing 
more of the game : we found the track of the elks, but 
they had evidently been alarmed by his previous visit, 
for their slot indicated speed. In returning to our camp, 
I saw nothing but an old crane fishing in a shallow part 
of the river. I believe I was moved as much by spite 
and disappointment at my fruitless hunt, as by a wish to 
discharge my rifle, which had been too long loaded, when 
I presented it at this feathered fisherman : both barrels 
missed fire, the powder having become damp, through 
the continued rain to which we had been so long exposed. 
Meantime, the crane, startled by the sound of the rifle- 
lock, turned his long neck and looked at me with an ex- 
pression which appeared peculiarly insolent and con- 
temptuous, then spreading his broad oars, sailed slowly 
away. While returning to camp, [ consoled myself by 
reflecting how provoked I should have been had I suc- 
ceeded in getting within reach of a herd of elks, and had 
mv two barrels then missed fire. 

I recommend this consolatory philosophy as a specific 
against impatience ; for in all our disappointments or 
faikires, we know so little about the consequences of 
success, that we may have been fondly pursuing what 
would have proved our ruin, and be vainly regretting 
that which has been the means of our preservation. 1 


once knew a man who was pressed by urgent business, 
and who arrived a few minutes too late for the boat in 
which he wished to embark : lie was most vexed and 
irritated, and had scarcely recovered his good-humour, 
when he learned that the boat had been lost, and few of 
the passengers had escaped. 

24th. — Our spirits and our persons were again damped 
this morning by heavy showers of rain, which continued 
until near noon ; and as our stock of provisions began to 
grow exceedingly scant, I determined to move onward 
at all events. Fortunately the weather cleared about 
twelve, and I struck into the trail, which still continued 
north-north-east. This course did not suit us, and I felt 
inclined to believe that it would take us to the Oioe vil- 
lage ; but as I felt sure that we had now crossed the 
Kanzas from fifty to one hundred miles lower than the 
point where we had crossed it in our outward journey, it 
was evident that by going now nearly north, we must 
ere long cross the trail which we had made in going to 
the westward : I hoped we should easily recognize it and 
follow it to the Fort. For these reasons I pursued the 
northern trail, instead of travelling east or east by north, 
which was our proper course. 

In the course of the day we saw several small trails, 
but none of them enticed me to quit the one on which I 
was moving. 

On the 25th we came to a large cross trail ; and, on 
setting my compass, 1 found that it ran east and by south, 
and the direction was, according to my calculation, pre- 
cisely that of our old Hail, and 1 felt sure that we had 
struck it. 1 looked around in hope of finding some land- 
mark that I could remember, but could discern none, and 
am obliged to confess my want of local memory on this 
occasion. None of my companions could recollect the 
spot or any of the objects in view; one of them, the 
American lad, said he thought it was the right trail ; the 
other two held a contrary opinion. One thing at least I 
was confident of, namely, that if it was not our own old 
trail, it was one which bore the right course for our jour- 
ney, and I determined immediately to follow it. 1 had 
not done so two hundred yards, when I saw a small 


\vliite object in the grass close to the path ; T dismounted 
to examine it, and found that which dispelled all doubts 
in a moment : it was neither more nor less than a small 
torn slip of paper, whicii had, probably, been used for 
lighting or wrapping a cigar ; the printing on it was 
still legible, and it was part of an advertisement in the 
London Times newspaper. I carried it in triumph to 
the rest of the party, and asked them, who but myself 
was likely to have left a morsel of a London newspaper 
it that wilderness. We needed no farther proof, but 
pursued the trail joyfully ; though I confess, I wondered 
how the paper could have resisted the rains and dew^s of 
two months so as still to retain the impression of the 

I now pushed forward, and determined to reach the 
camping-place where we had stopped in our outward 
march ; a few hours' travel brought us to it. We re- 
membered the spot perfectly, and found our own old 
tent-poles ; we did not use them, but it was really a 
pleasure to lie down on the same tuft of grass on wdiich 
we had been stretched two months before, and we felt as 
if at home. The neighbourhood abounded in most deli- 
cious pea-vine pasture for the horses, which we hobbled 
and turned loose ; and while the rest of the party pre- 
pared supper, I employed my pencil in making some of 
these hasty notes. If my memory served me rightly, I 
suppose that we were now seven or eight days' journey 
from the Fort ; and on examination of our provision stock 
convinced me of the unpleasant but evident necessity 
for diminishing our daily allowance by nearly one half: 
our flour was nearly exhausted, and we could only afford 
henceforward to use half-a-pint a day, which is rather 
short commons for four hungry travellers. 

It will be remembered, that in going out we made 
forced marches, in order to overtake the great body of 
Pawnees ; and I wished now to perform the same daily 
journeys in order to ensure the finding a good camping- 
place, water, and the remains of gathered wood which 
had not been consumed. It was as much as we could 
do to urge on our sore-backed and leg-weary steeds, 
without losing any time in attempting to hunt for game. 


Moreover, in order to prevent their failing and stopping 
short from exhaustion, we were obliged to perform a 
great part of tiie journey on foot. My attachment to my 
trusty roan, (which was indeed fresh and unwearied, but 
began to be severely galled in several places by giith 
and saddle) induced me to walk a great deal; and this 
pedestrian exercise, added to my duties as guide, gave 
me so much employment, that when we hailed at mid- 
day I was more disposed for rest and food than for an 
excursion with the rifle. Indeed, I had this day seen a 
magnificent herd of elks in some broken ravines to the 
left of our path, and am convinced that, from the nalure 
of the ground and the direction of the wind, I could easily 
have killed one or two of them, had I halted the parly 
and gone after ihem ; but the camping-place and the Fort 
were now so completely the master-objects of my wishes, 
that I saw them trot otf with as much nonchalance as if 
I had been looking at fallow-deer in an English park. 

The 26th was a beautiful morning. After travelling 
three hours, the trail bearing east-south-west, I was 
half a mile a head of my parly, when crossing a wooded 
ravine a flock of turkeys, containing I think fifty or six- 
ty, rose and flew to a neighbouring thicket : as they 
were on the wing I fired a ball at random among 
them ; it broke two or three feathers, but killed none. 
When my companions arrived, I hailed them for half 
an hour, and went with the young American lad in pursuit 
of them ; but they had beat us completely in the thicket, 
and we saw nothing more of them. Had we got them 
out on the open prairie we should have liad excellent 
sport. A wild turkey runs with exceeding swiftness, 
but he cannot keep it up very lonfj, and his wings are not 
proportioned to the great weight of his body, so as to 
enable him to fly far. I have been told, that on a fair 
plain without trees, an active Indian, or white man, could 
run one down in little more than an hour. 

We resumed our route, and halted about noon to rest 
the horses. I again set out with my rifle, accompanied 
by the younger John, to see if we could procure some 
fresh meat. After a tolerably long walk, we sprung a 
fine fawn from a small ravine which we were trying; as 


it dashed up the opposite bank, I fired and broke a fore- 
leg ; it fell, but got up and scran:ibled over the hill side : 
young John pursued it for soncie distance, but lost it in a 
thicket. I could not join in the pursuit, for the ravine 
was so tangled with brushwood that I could not cross it 
in less than ten minutes. As John had been previously 
on the opposite bank he had lost no time, and when I 
emerged from the hollow, neither he nort he deer was visi- 
ble ; be soon re-appeared however, and told me of his 

We continued our walk, without seeing either elk or 
common deer; when suddenly, as we were crossing a 
high stony ridge, he pointed out an animal moving along 
it which stopped behind a great stone and ihence peeped 
out, staring at us. We were now savage and hungry, 
and ready to devour a wolf, if we could get nothing bet- 
ter ; so I levelled my rifle and shot this unknown skulker 
by the stone. On going up to him he proved to be a 
gray badger. I know that in the north-west highlands of 
Scotland, this animal is sometimes eaten, and his hams 
(when cured) are considered a great delicacy. My 
young companion made rather a wry face at the idea of 
feeding on what he had always considered abominable 
vermin, but professed himself open to conviction and 
willing to make the experiment : so we forthwith skin- 
ned and cleaned the creature ; and as I felt sure that 
neither my German friend nor my Scotch servant would 
taste it if they knew what it was, I determined to play 
ihem a trick for their own advantage.* We according- 
ly cut off its head and tail ; and carrying it back to the 
camp, told them we had brought them a young bear-cub ! 
They both examined it, and neither detected the imposi- 

We made our soup, and I broiled my badger : his 
own fat was all the basting that he required ; and when 
he was served up, we all agreed that we never had eaten 
more sweet or excellent meat : it had but one fault, being 

* Succhj amari ingannato intanto ei beve, 
E dal' inganno suo vita riceve ! 

Gerusalemme Liheratat Canto L 

Vol. IL-E 


SO exceedingly fat that it surpassed in that respect any 
pig or other anifiial that 1 ever saw ; fortunately it was 
young, or it could not have been so tender as it actually 
was. While we were eating it the younger John cast 
many significant and comic glances at me, and I had the 
greatest difficulty in maintaining my gravity ; however 
I did so, and in order to heigljten the effect of the joke, I 
contrived to turn the conversation upon the various meats 
and animals which prairie travellers might be often con- 
strained by hunger to eat. After mentioning in succes- 
sion the beaver, the fox. the bear, the wolf, &c., J said 
to the elder John, " Supposing we were hard pressed for 
food, how vvould you like to partake of a badger?" The 
answer, most emphatically delivered with a visage of 
horror and disgust, was, " Lord ! sir, I'd rather starve 
than eat that nasty vermin !" We concluded our dinner, 
and our two unconscious badger-fed companions pro- 
secuted their journey merrily, congratulating themselves 
on the excellent dinner which the young bear had af- 
forded. So much for prejudice. 

On the 28th, our bad luck in respect to weather had 
not yet left us ! On the aflernoon of the 27th, there 
came on a tremendous thunder-storm, accompanied by 
showers of rain and sleet, driven by as cold and piercing 
a north-easter as ever 1 felt in a British November : we 
ourselves and our baggage, were soon completely wetted. 
We could not sit upon our horses, but walked by the 
side of them, blowing our finger ends, and endeavouring 
to shelter ourselves, by getting to the lee-side of the tired 
animals ; but even they could not face the pelting of the 
storm, and more than once turned their tails to it, fright- 
ened and shivering, and regardless of our efforts to urge 
them forward. Of course the blasts of wind and rain 
■were fitful and varied in their force, but they continued 
more or less, without intermission, until evening. At 
length, and not before dusk, wearied and drenched, we 
reached our place of encampment. It was above a hun- 
dred yards from the line of the trail ; neveriheless, as 
soon as we approached it my sagacious roan pricked 
her ears, gave a kind of grunt of mingled recognition and 
satisfaction, trotted off to the spot, and began snuffing 


and smelling at the twisted osier and other relics of our 
former hall : — sensible, faithful, and half-reasoning briile! 
tired, wet, and cold as I was, I could not omit noticing 
her sagacity and power of memory. 

Those who live in the civilized world, even if accus- 
tomed to hunting, shooting, and other field sports, can 
scarcely imagine the miserable discomfort of arriving, 
after a toilsome march, weary and drenched with rain, 
at a halting-place, where the grass, the wood, everything 
around is also wet ; the skins and baggage all soaked and 
soiled ; not a dry shred of clothing to put on, and even 
the fire, by which alone warmtli or food is to be pro- 
cured, requiring an hour's assiduous nursing and shelier- 
ing, and blowing, before it attains power sufficient to 
warm a little finger, or heat a cup of water ! Such was 
our plight ! Nevertheless, complaint was of no use, and 
we did, at length, make a tolerable fire, and boil a pot of 
most excellent buffalo-soup ; flavoured on this occasion 
by the addition of two brace of grouse,* which I had 
fortunately shot in the morning before the rain came on. 
One brace I felt not a little proud of, as they had risen 
just before my mare while on the journey, ajid I killed 
them right and left without dismounting : they were 
deliciously tender, and the flavour seemed to me equal 
to that of any birds which I had ever tasted. But it 
must be owned that Lazenby never made a sauce so 
appetizing,^ as that with which our day's journey had 
furnished us: be that as it may, our supper was most 
excellent, and I do positively declare my belief, that 
pleasure is meant to triumph over pain in this world ! for 
I felt much greater satisfaction in toasting my feet by 
the fire, enjoying my hot prairic-hen and buffalo-soup, 
and afterwards a few consolatory whiffs from my pipe, 
than I had experienced annoyance from the sleet, the 
cold, or the fatigue of the whole day. 

I must however confess, that 1 found my wet clothes 

*■ The " Tetrao Canadensis," usually called the Prairie-hen in the 
Western States, and found in great abundance in Wisconsin, Illinois, 
Indiana, &c. 

I I believe the English language is indebted to me for importing this 
word from France ! 


rather unpleasant during the night. We huddled closely 
together, and steamed away enveloped in skins, with our 
feet so close to the fire, that once or twice we had to 
jump up and put a spark out which fell upon us. The 
dew was extremely heavy, and the cold just before dawn 
most severe ; so that we were not sorry, when morning 
broke, to see a rosy young sun emerging from the east- 
ern haze. We were obliged to contirme our halt in order 
to dry our skins and provisions ; both of which were ex- 
posed to immediate risk of corruption, by the constant 
wetting to which they had been exposed. 

While my companions attended to these things, and 
collected the horses which had strayed to some distance, 
I look my rifle and went in search of elk or antelope. 
My evil genius led me along a bottom, or valley, near 
which we were camped, and a more impracticable place 
for hunting I never beheld : after four or five hours' 
struggling and scrambling, rather than walking, I re- 
turned without having killed or seen a deer. 

My fatigue and ill-success are easily accounted for by 
the nature of the ground which I had been traversing : 
the brushwood^ through which I had to force my way, 
was from six to eight feet high, and very thick ; more- 
^over it was full of plum trees and prickly briars, matted 
together with the tough cords of the pea-vine ; while 
every now and then I had my shins bruised, and my feet 
entangled among the jagged limbs of fallen limber of a 
former generation with which the ground was strewn. 
To these obstacles were to be added a number of creeks, 
with rotten banks overgrown with reeds, too wide for a 
leap, and yet loo muddy and deep for wading. It will 
easily be believed that, in such a district, a single hunter 
has little prospect of killing deer; the only chance of 
sport would be for a party to scatter themselves in dif- 
ferent directions, and watch the paths leading from the 
thickets and the deer beds to the water, whither the 
animals generally go at noon to drink. 

On the 29ih Fate seemed still resolved that we should 
not reach the Fort without suffering some privations ; for 
an examination of our provender convinced me that we 
had little more than enough for four days, at our preseiit 


allowance ; and as we had at least a week's journey be- 
fore us, I was obliged, however unwillingly, to limit our 
rations to half the former quanlily ; that is, to allow, ex- 
clusive of our dried meat, only a pint of maize and one 
tin-cup of ^ouT per diem among ihe whole party. How- 
ever, we had yet a little coffee, and if we could but 
travel, there would be no reason to fear any serious in- 
convenience from our scant and reduced diet. Never- 
theless, it was impossible to move this day owing to the 
continual rain ; so I again sallied forth in the faint hope 
of procuring a fresh supply of meat. 

Although my shooting-jacket was thick, and I walked 
fast, I do not remember to have ever encountered a more 
raw and bitter sharpness in the air, even on a moor in a 
Scottish December, than I experienced during this dis- 
agreeable walk, from which I returned after three hours' 
fruitless fatigue thoroughly drenched, cold, and dispirited, 
without having seen a living animal. 

The morning of the 30lh dawned fresh and clear. We 
broke camp at sunrise, and travelled all day, with only 
one hour's rest at noon, as I was determined, if possil le, 
again to reach our old camping-place : in this I succeed- 
ed, and just before reaching it, was aware of three deer 
within rifle-shot of the trail. Unfortunately, I had mount- 
ed my shot-barrels a few hours before, in order to kill a 
prairie-hen, (the only one which I had seen on this long 
day's march ;) and before I could replace them by the 
rifle-barrels, the deer had taken to the bush. I followed 
them, and was at one time near enough to hear them 
bounding and breaking their way through the brushwood ; 
but I could not get a shot, or even a sight of them ; so I 
was obliged to rejoin my friends, having nothing but my 
solitary prairie-hen to add to our scanty mess. 

Never have I been exposed to such strange vicissi- 
tudes of temperature. I had no thermometer, and a guess 
is almost always an exaggeration ; but I cannot help be- 
lieving, that, on the preceding day, while the severest 
exercise, and my thickest coat, could scarcely protect me 
from the cold sleet, enough to keep my blood in circula- 
tion, it must have been as low as 40° of Fahrenheit ; and 
this day, at noon, without a jacket, and riding gently with 


only my blue shirt over my shoulders, I was perspiring 
under the fierce rays of the sun, in a temperature that 
must have been above 100*^. The nights were cold, and 
the dews very heavy ; but we had become so accus- 
tomed to sleep in the open air with our feet to the fire, 
that we preferred it to the trouble of stretching the tent, 
although lent-poles were now lo be had without diffi- 

On the 31st we travelled all day without any incidents. 
I amused myself by watching the queer working of the 
muscles in the elder John's face, while T gradually let 
him into the secret that he had not very long ago fed 
upon that "nasty vermin" called a badger, when he 
thought he was eating a bear-cub. As for the younger 
John, his mirth and spirits increased every hour as we 
drew nearer to his home ; and I could not resist the in- 
fection of his merriment, while he mingled snatches of 
rough Kentucky songs, and scraps of negro ballads, with 
objurgations to the hungry and wearied pack-horses, al- 
ways concluding his medley with portentous threats of 
the devastation which he hoped, ere long, to make in the 
produce of his mother's oven, kitchen, and dairy, and ge- 
nerally terminating his anticipated feast by "dipping his 
head into a bowl of buttermilk !" 

September 1st. — This day was beautiful, and the heat 
of a brilliant sun was tempered by a refreshing breeze. 
After four hours' march, we reached the spot where we 
had before overtaken Sanitsarish's party after losing our 
horses. We halted an hour, and continued our course 
merrily. Once we came to a place where the trail forked 
into three branches ; I pursued the left or most north- 
ward track, partly from recollection, and partly from its 
direction by compass; one of the others had been evi- 
dently made by a party going eastward, whereas, it was 
self-evident, that in our old trail the grass must be beaten 
down towards the west : but even on this I could observe 
that a party had passed since our former march ; I sup- 
pose they must have been some of the Kickapoos and 
Powtawatomies resident near the Fort. I conjectured 
also, that the middle trail was that leading to the Dela- 
ware and Shawanon settlements, at the mouth of the 


Kanzas ; and the southern one probably made by a 
parly returning to St. Louis, or some other point in Mis- 

In this part of our march the horse-flies of various 
kinds gave us much annoyance ; but I have reason to 
beheve that we should have suffered a great deal nriore 
from them, had we returned a month earlier; tht^.y are 
indeed a fearful scourge to the unfortunate animals; the 
quantity of blood that they draw, and the rapidity with 
which they draw it, are equally astonishing; nets, 
branches of trees, &c., are all unavailing to keep them off; 
and I have more than once seen the horses so maddened 
and so covered with blood by their bites, that I can quite 
believe what has been told me by Santa Fe traders, that 
they have frequently known them lie down and die from 
exhaustion and loss of blood. Fortunately they do not 
attack mankmd, for our skin would not cost them a mo- 
ment's trouble to pierce, and the puncture seems very 
large, and would probably be attended with much inflam- 
matiori ; but we have been frequently annoyed by the lo- 
custs, or dark-coloured cockchafers, which sail along 
with the wind at great speed, and are, apparently, quite 
blind, for they come against the traveller's face with a 
force sufficient to sting him sharply, and, I should think, 
to stun themselves. 

This evening we had a good pot of soup, as I was en- 
abled to add three or four prairie-hens to its strength and 
ilavour. The young John killed a racoon, but it crept 
into a hole before we could secure it. We camped at 
our old place, in the open air, as we decidedly preferred 
sleeping thus, to the trouble of pitching the fly-lent. 

On the 2d we travelled on our former trail, the weather 
rather wild, and a very high wind. After about thirty 
miles' journey, we came to and recognized the creek, 
where our poor little mule had been " mired," and had 
thrown his load into the water. The character of the 
scenery was much changed since we last passed through 
the same district : the grass was of a kind of tawny hue ; 
the trees were changing their green mantles for the vari- 
ous hues which tliey respectively wear in autumn ; and 
there was. a greater variety of flowers, allkough most of 


them seemed to have outlived iheir prime. Indeed, I 
must confess, that all my experience of the great western 
prairie has disappointed my expectation in respect to 
flowers. It may possibly be that I was in the more re- 
mote and barren wilderness, just at the season when I 
ought to have been here to see them ; but the fact un- 
doubtedly is, that I saw none that could exceed in bril- 
liancy the flaunting colours of the poppy, or contend in 
sweetness or in beauty with the cowslip, the primrose, or 
the crimson tints which fringe the tip of the daisy, or 
lodge like " drops in the bottom of the cowslip," and last, 
not least, the unobtrusive violet, which delights the senses 
both of sight and smell in the meadows and banks of old 

While riding along carelessly and observing the fea- 
tures of the surrounding scene, my ear was struck, and 
not for the first time, by the merry voice of the younger 
John, half singing, half talking to his more moody com- 
panion, and telling him how he longed to see his mother, 
and his favourite dog, and the cows he used to drive in 
from pasture ; and how he would revel in the luxuries of 
hot cakes and buttermilk ! I could not help calling to 
mind, although the epithet was not exactly appropriate, 
the beautiful lines of Juvenal : — 

" Longs for his home, the kids he used to pet. 
And for his mother sighs with sad regret."* * 

All the 3d, we travelled without more halting than w^as 
absolutely necessary, until we arrived at the first memo- 
rable camping-place, where our horses had escaped and 
left us. We remembered having left a wooden pack- 
saddle upon a branch of a great oak near the encamp- 
ment ; but, upon looking for it, it was gone; doubtless, 
having attracted the quick eye of some Indian who had 
little scruple in appropriating the prize. As I was de- 
termined to reach the Fort this day, and our horses were 
so leg-weary and galled, that they could not travel fast, 
I started very early, and with the consent of the whole 

*" Suspirat longo non visam tempore matrera, 
Et casulam et notes trisiis desiderat hsedos." 


party, dispensed with the ceremony of breakfast, except 
a small slice of dried buffalo-meat, uncooked. 

We were all in high spirits ; hunger, heat, and fatigue, 
all were merged in the excitement of again seeing our 
friends and white brethren. As we approached the 
Missouri, the features of the scenery became more grand 
and imposing, the timber seemed heavier, and the vege- 
tation richer. Hill after hill of this fine undulating dis- 
trict was surmounted ; a deer which showed itself at no 
great distance, was allowed to go off unpursued ; and at 
length my eye caught, far to the northward, the curved 
line of massive foliage, wliich surely, but still indistinctly, 
indicated the course of the great river. A^ain we pressed 
forward with re-animated expectation. The ground rose 
gradually before us for several miles, and it was not until 
the trees were passed that we attained the summit of the 
ridge, and the magnificent monarch of the floods lay 
stretched in all his glory before us ! 

Never, under the influence of such overwhelming feel- 
ings, had I seen such a panorama of beauty. A torrent 
of associations never forgotten, but long dormant, w^ere 
aw^akened and returned to iheir wonted channels. The 
buffalo herds, the howl of wolves, the circles of naked 
savages round their fires, their yells, their dances, and 
their songs, were, for a season, all as a dream ; while 
the neat white-washed wall of the Fort, seen through the 
irregular glades of the forest, and a party of haymakers, 
plying their task in the prairie, at no great distance below 
us, all seemed to recall the comforts and the endearments 
of civilized and social life. I could not speak — I could 
not even think distinctly ; but I made no exertion to 
arrange my thoughts — I rather allowed them to revel ia 
that confusion of undefined pleasure — that delicious tu- 
mult, which, although vague, and short-lived, is for a 
time more enjoyable than gayety, more happy than even 
the " sober certainty of waking bliss." 

As we passed onward, near enough to the haymakers 
to distinguish their features and exchange a salutation in 
our langUHge, the sight of them did my heart good ; they 
looked like friends and relatives, and their voices wero 
like old music. 


When we arrived near the Fort an unexpected and 
annusing difficulty occurred : no power could induce our 
Indian pack-horses to approach the white walls, or to 
pass some wagons which stood at a liille distance from 
the road ; and when at last we led them as far as the 
gate of the green square, or inclosure, round which the 
barracks are built, we were altogether unable to make 
them pass through it ; they snorted, reared, and would 
have defeated our attempts, whether at persuasion or 
coercion, had we not met with a reinforcement, from a 
small body of soldiers who were lounging before the rail- 
ings, with whose assistance we contrived to drive them 
through. Then, our younger John, true to his often ex- 
pressed anticipations, rushed to the arms of his mother, 
and the bowl of buttermilk. As soon as we had relieved 
our wearied horses of their several burthens, V ac- 
companied one of the officers to his quarters ; and I 
accepted the hospitable offer of Captain Hunter, now in 
command of the Fort. 

The difficulty I found in sitting on a chair, the fearful 
havoc which 1 made among the various cakes, which 
succeeded each other on his tea-table, and the strange 
sensations which I experienced on taking off my clothes, 
and sleeping in a bed between sheets, deserve, and shall 
have, a separate chapter. 



Epidemic Fever and Ague. — Hospitality of Captain Hunter. — A 
noxious Intruder. — Visit to the Kickapoo Village. — An Indian 
Preacher and Prophet. — Restrictions similar to those in the Mosiac 
Law . — Specimen of an Indian Sermon — -Pursuit of a Bear. — Sale of 
my Horses. — Embark for St. Louis — Dangerous Navigation. — Paw- 
paws — Unhealthy Appearance of the Missouri Settlers. — Republican 
Equality. — Gambling in the Steamboat. — Officers of the United Spates 
Army. — Frequency of Duels — Drunkenness among the common 
Soldiers. — Insubordination and Desertion in the Army. — Arrival at 
St. Louis. — Catholic Church there. — A French Artist. — Dulness at 
St. Louis. — Jefferson Barracks — Old French Village. — The Arsenal. 
— Hospitality of the commanding Officer. — Music in the house of Mr. 
P., a German resident in St. Louis. 

Fort Leavenworth, Sept. 6. — Great changes had 
taken place among the officers confiposing the garrison, 
since 1 had last visited it ; insomuch, that only one re- 
mained wiih whom I could claim acquaintance. This 
post had been visited by the scourge of the whole Mis- 
sissippi and Missouri valleys, namely, fever and ague ; 
and it was painful to see the number of sunken eyes and 
ashy cheeks by which I was surrounded. 

The epidemic which had been so severe upon the 
officers and men, had not spared the good messman and 
his family ; they had been all attacked by it, and were 
much reduced : but the good dame's joy, when she had 
recovered her son, (our young attendant, John Hardy,) 
was uncontrollable ; she turned him round and round, 
looked at his embrowned hands, and his tanned and un- 
shorn face, as if she could scarcely persuade herself that 
it was he indeed : she wept with joy, and said that she 
had almost given up any hope of ever seeing him again. 
I was delighted to be able to restore him to her, much 
improved both in appearance and in qualities ; for when 
we started he had been rather inclined to be indolent, 
and was somewhat too fresh and delicate looking ; he 
was now a strong, healthy, and active lad, willing and 


able to undergo fatigue, and merry and cheerful in diffi- 

Colonel Dodge, the commander, and his exploring 
party, had not yet returned, and I found Captain Hunter 
in command. Not content wiih the courtesy and hospi- 
tality usually shown to strangers by the officers on a 
remote station, this gentleman insisted on my taking up 
my abode at his quarters, an arrangement to which I ac- 
ceded with pleasure. I found Mrs. Hunter an exceed- 
ingly agreeable and pleasing lady, and regretted very 
much that an attack of the prevalent fever confined her 
to her chamber, so as to prevent her appearing in the 

On the first night of my stay under this hospitable roof, 
I was awakened soon after midnight by hearing my bed- 
room door open : 1 jumped up and saw a white figure, 
with a candle in one hand and a pistol in the other ! A 
second glance showed me that it w^as Captain Hunter ; 
he informed me that the lower part of his house was now 
usurped by " a skunk," an animal whose foetid qualities 
leave those of the polecat or badger far behind. He had 
just learned that the intruder was partly visible under an 
old barrel in the scullery immediately below my bed- 
room ; and, as he was proceeding to shoot him, he 
very good naturedly called me in passing, that 1 might 
not be startled or annoyed by the discharge of pistols in 
the house at that hour. The first shot did not prove 
fatal, but there arose from the wounded skunk such a 
stench as I shall never forget; in two minutes it filled 
the whole house, and even in my room with the door 
shut, I could scarcely believe that the animal was not 
within six inches of my nose. 

It is well known that nature has provided all the vari- 
ous tribes of her animated children with their respective 
means of self-defence ; these are more numerous than 
they are usually supposed to be.* 

♦ The old poet, in his (l)i'(ji^ Kepara ravpoi^ {V^de 2d Ode of Ana- 
creon), certainly omitted the skunk, which, wlien alarmed or pursued, 
emits this eflluvium, which deters his sturdiest persecutor ; and also the 
fish which saves itself from the jaws of the dolphin, by giving out a 
dark-coloured secretion, which tinges the water all around and renders 
him invisible. 


One or two discharges of the pistol terminated the ex- 
istence of the skunk, but his memory lasted the livelong 
night; and I learned from unpleasant experience, that 
we may apply to this animal what the poet has so pret- 
tily said of the tenacious perfume of the rose : — 

*» You may break, yoy may ruin the vase, if you will, 
But the scent of the roses will hang round it still." 

I was not a little amused at the awkwardness 1 expe- 
rienced in a drawing-room : T literally felt some difficult}^ 
in sitting on a chair, so long had I been accustomed to 
sit cross-legged on the ground ; and my appetite, as well 
as that of all our little prairie party, might have threat- 
ened dearth to the best stocked larder. 

On the 6th, I rode out with Captain Hunter to the 
Kickapoo village, which is about five miles from the 
Fort. The Kickapoos are a branch of the great northern 
nation of Indians, which includes the Potawotomies, the 
the Chippeways, and other numerous tribes. Their for- 
mer territory has been "bought" (as it is called) by the 
United States, and this tract of country along the south.'- 
ern bank of the Missouri allotted in its stead ; beside 
which, the United States engaged to supply them for a 
certain time with a stipulated quantity of provisions, 
clothes, &CC. Living so near the settlements, they have 
lost most of the traits of their original character, and are 
a reduced debased race; nevertheless, they are now in- 
teresting in a religious point of view. A miniaiure Ma- 
homet has arisen arnong them ; and the tribe is divided 
into two sects — the religious and irreligious ; these are 
pretty equal in number ; and the former acknowledge 
and obey as secular chief the prophet who teaches the 
new creed. This man preaches very good and enlight- 
ened morality, He pretends to have seen the Great 
Spirit in a vision, and to have received his command to 
proclaim his truths and precepts to the Indians. I should 
have been astonished at the excellence of his doctrine^ 
and the soundness of his religious views, if I had not 
learned from a gentlemen long resident among them, the 
fountain from which he drew his knowledge. It appears 

Vol. H.— F 


that when very young he learned the English language 
thoroughly, and in remote parts of ihe state of Illinois at- 
tended many Christian meetings ; he thus became ac- 
quainted with the outlines of the Christian scheme, and 
\\i\\\ ih(? morality which the Bible inculcates; and after- 
ward grafting the knowledge thus acquired upon his In- 
dian prejudices and superstitions, he has used it as an 
engine of personal aggrandizement, and become priest, 
piophet, and chief of half his nation. 

I attended a preaching, which was held under a large, 
open, reed-thatched shed. The meeting was conducted 
with the greatest decorum : all the men under or near the 
shed stood uncovered ; but in this, as in all tlie Christian 
churches that I have seen in any country, the greater 
part of the assembly were females. Each was supplied 
with a flat board, on which were carved symbols, which 
answered the purpose of letters, and enabled them to 
chime in with the prayer or hymn of the preacher. 

I remarked that many women stood outside this rustic 
temple, and on inquiring the cause, I received an answer 
which showed how singularly some Indian customs re- 
semble those of the Jews and ancient Eastern nations. 
Durincr certain periods the women are forbidden to enter 
any place where the "medicine" is kept; and in some 
tribes they are not allowed to remain in their family-tent, 
but are made to occupy a small wing made of two or 
three skins added to it ; in short, they impose all the re- 
strictions which the Mosaic law imposed upon a situa- 
tion over which the belter and more enlightened taste 
of modern civilization is content to throw the veil of 

I regretted to find that the ofuciating preacher was not 
the " great prophet himself," but one of his favourite dis- 
ciples ; he was a man of middle age, with a quiet and 
earnest expression of countenance, and a voice capable 
of much modulation and variety of lone : bespoke with- 
out the slightest hesitation. I placed myself within 
lieaving ; and keeping at my elbow the half-bred French 
interpreter, took down in pencil the following scraps from 
his lecture : — " I^ook up at the heavens! look around 
you at the earth ferule with fruit, and the animals given 


for our use. All these show the goodness of the Great 
Spirit. If He were not good, much better than any of 
us, He would be angry with us ; for we are all bad and 
disobey Him — He would punish and not forgive us : but 
if we are good and obey Him, we are happier and more 
flourishing here — all goes well with us. We are but 
half-taught children — we are poor Indians; it is only a 
few years since we learned his will and commands, 
ihroiigli his prophet ; but if we ask Him, and obey Him, 
we shall daily grow wiser and happier," and so on in a 
similar strain. After this sermon, a hymn was sung; it 
was a low, melancholy, and not unmusical air, and was 
rendered wild and peculiar by the closing of each verse 
in the minor key. I left the scene with strong emotions 
of interest and compassion, and must own that I enter- 
tain hopes, though but faint ones, that diis twilight may 
be the forerunner of the sunrise of the Gospel 

The shades of evening had closed around us, and I 
returned with Captain Hunter at a brisk trot toward the 
garrison. In a narrow and abrupt turn, where the road 
crosses the high ridge behind the Fort, ilie horses began 
to snort, and the dogs, two or three of which, of various 
breeds, had accompanied us, began to utter that hurried 
irregular bark, indicative as much of terror as of anger 
or watchfulness. We pushed forward into the " brush," 
and soon recognized the enemy, in the person of a bear, 
that made a speedy retreat into an adjoining tliicket ; we 
pursued for two or three minutes, but the bushes were so 
high and thick, and the remaining light so scanty, that 
we perilled our shins and trousers, rather more than the 
life of Bruin, especially as our canine allies seemed will- 
ing to keep at a respectful distance, and more disposed 
to bark him to death than to adopt any more effective 
measures : this would have proved a somewhat slow 
process, and we accordingly turned our horses heads, 
and proceeded quietly to the garrison. 

I sold all my horses to a trader, who was soon about 
to start for the mountains. They were all grazing in a 
rich pea-vine bottom, which had been enclosed on the 
landward side by the garrison, while a great bend of the 

d4 embark for ST. Lotrrs, 

river effectual^ protected the other sides of it. The 
purchaser bought them without seeing them, and paid us 
a very moderate price, but as rijuch as I tliought them 
worth. I did not include my favourite roan in this sale ; 
she was purchased by one of the officers of the Fort, who 
promised to show her all kindness and favour. 

During the few days which I remained, I amused my- 
self by visiting some Kickapoos and Powtawatomies, in 
order to make vocabularies of their language. I also 
found a tolerably intelligent Delaware, from whom I got 
some information about his tribe and tongue ; but I shall 
not interrupt my narrative with any account of Indian 
languages ; the reader who is curious on the subject will 
find it treated of in the Appendix. 

After enjoying the comforts and hospitality of these 
agreeable quarters for two or three days, I took advan- 
tage of the arrival of a steam-boat, and embarked for St. 
Louis. I found the river much lower than when I had 
passed up in June, and the navigation infinitely more dan- 
gerous ; the huge black snags were in some places as 
thick as the trees of the forest, and as I stood on the 
deck and looked at their serried ranks, upon which we 
were bearing down at twelve or fourteen miles an hour, 
with all the united force of current and steam, I could not 
trace with m}^ eye any course or channel by which our 
craft could make good her way ; but being a sufficiently 
old traveller to believe that " everybody knows his own 
business best ;" and seeing that the captain and owners 
were neither intoxicated nor mad, it was rather with cu- 
riosity and admiration than alarm, that I saw our pilot 
charge down upon this forest of snags. His name was 
Baptiste, and he is one of the most celebrated pilots on the 
w^esiern waters ; his countenance was calm and grave, 
and his quiet piercing eye seemed to calculate the 
number and position of the giant palisades through which 
he was to force a passage. On we went, now rubbing 
on the starboard, now scraping on the larboard side, but 
always avoiding a direct collision. Our course, though 
serpentine, was extremely rapid, and in a few minutes 
the forest of snags lay in our rear. 

Soon afterward, we struck the bottom, so hard as ta 


shake all the chairs in the cabin, and to affect consider- 
bly the vertical position of their respective tenants ! In 
Britain, every soul would have rushed. to the deck; but 
I saw everybody else remain perfectly quiet, and I did not 
see why I should give myself anymore uneasiness than my 
neighbours. I soon found out that if a person feels any 
objCetioR to such an occurrence, he had better notdescend 
the Missouri in September, as we grounded frequently 
for a few minutes, and rubbed our keel against tlie bed 
of the river half a dozen times in the course of every 

When the steam-boat stopped to take in fuel, I went 
ashore and gathered some fine ripe pawpaws; this was 
the first time I had tasted this fruit, which is in my 
opinion one of the most delicious in the world : it resem- 
bles very much the banana of the West Indies, but is 
more rich and luscious. There are two species, the 
green and the yellow ; the latter is preferable : whea 
opened, the interior is exactly like a custard, and the fla- 
vour is something between a fig and a pine-apple. It 
reaches a much greater size in the West Indies than oa 
the Missouri, and resembles in form a kidney potato.- 
Although I prefer this fruit to banana or pine-apple, I find 
it is not generally so highly esteemed, being considered 
too rich and cloying ; moreover, I was lold it is extreme- 
ly unwholesome : this I found to be an absurd prejudice 
(as I have often eaten from six to twelve at a time with- 
out any unpleasant consequences.) The belief in its 
hurtful qualities, probable owes its origin to the fact that 
the hogs, which roam in the woods and eat the produce 
of every other fructiferous tree, will not touch the paw- 
paw. 'Another cause of the low estimation in whicli 
pawpaws are held is their extreme abundance ; they 
grow in thousands in the woods, as thick as nuts in an 
English hazel-wood, and the children soon get sick and 
tired of eating them. 

It was extremely painful to remark the wan and un- 
healthy appearance of all the settlers on the banks of the 
Missouri, between the Fort and St Louis. I must have 
landed twenty limes, and I did not see a single family 
where the fever and ague had not " chased the native 



colour from iheir cheeks." In some instances, both 
parents and a family of four or five children, wore 
so haggard and en)aciated an appearance, thai I could 
hardly believe the}'^ would outlive another season ; and 
their situation excited the more pity from the melancholy 
contrast which it presents to the luxurious and vigor- 
ous profusion of vegetable life around, where the earth 
teems with flowers and fruits, and bears on her broad 
bosom the huge trunks and far-spreading foliage of her 
gigantic forest sons. 

To return to the steam-boat : — There is nothing in 
America ihat strikes a foreigner so much as the real re- 
pubhcan equality existing in ihe Western States, which 
border on the wilderness ; while ihat of the Eastern 
Slates is being daily infringed on and modified. It is a cor- 
roborative proof (although superfluous to any reflecting 
mind) of the difficulty of continuing such equahty in 
civilized life ; it contravenes that advancement aiid 
exaltation of superior power, or intellect, which Nature 
has for centuries proved to be a part of her system. 
As regards society, the distinctions of rank and station 
are now as much observed in Philadelphia and Boston, 
as they are in London } indeed, I am inclined to believe 
they are more so, only with this difl'erence, that being, as 
it were, illegal and unsanctioned by public opinion, they 
are adhered to with secret pertinacity, and owe their 
origin and strength principally to wealth ; but in the Far 
West, where society is in its infancy, where all are en- 
gaged in making money by bringing into cultivation waste 
lands, or raising minerals, — where men of leisure are 
unknown, and the arm of law is feeble in protecting life 
and property, — where \he tone of manners, conversation, 
and accomplishment, is necessarily much lower than in 
stales and cities longer established, — l^ere it is th-at true 
republican equality exists, and here only can it exist. — 
This may be illustrated by the narration of simple and 
apparently trifling facts : for instance, I have seen the 
elerk of a steam-boat, and a grocer in a small village on 
the Missouri, sit down to take grog or play at cards with 
a menjber of congress and an officer in the army; 
laughing together, swearing together, and the names of 


Bill, Dick, and Harry, passing familiarly between 
ihem ! 

I confess I was much astonished at the gambling on 
board ; the parties were French traders and others en- 
gaged in different branches of business up the Missouri. 
I remember seeing 600 dollars stained on a single card 1 

When talking of the officers of the United Stales 
army, I would not be misunderstood ; I have become 
acquainted with a great many on the outposts both of the 
Missouri and Mississippi ; I have been invariably treated 
with the greatest attention and hospitality, and many of 
them are gentlemen who, in manners and accomplish- 
ments, would do credit to the service of any country ; 
but it v/ould argue a want of truth and candour were I 
not to add, that some of them have been found, during 
my stay in the West, in predicaments Tcry unbecoming 
any officer, and that drunkenness and gambling are but 
loo often the results of their habits of intimacy with 
some of the settlers in the West, who are not by birth, 
education, or manners, fitted to associate with gentlemen. 

Anoiher fact connected with the American army and 
navy, shows how repugnant are the notions of repub- 
licanism to all kinds of discipline. I allude to the fre- 
quency of duels in both these branches of the service. 
I never heard any sensible doubt or impugn the 
bravery of the Americans; but the number of quarrels 
and duels among officers, as well as among senators, 
judges, and the other higher orders of the community, 
is the poorest and most culpable mode of evincing their 
courage, and argues a want of discipline both in their 
social and military relations which is highly reprehen- 

It is well known, and has been confessed to me by 
many of their most intelligent officers, that the army, 
which is small, is much spoiled and disorganized by the 
spirit of " equality," and so-called independence, pre- 
valent among the common soldiers ; while the higher 
departments are too often brought within the sphere of 
political intrigues. In regard to the former, I must say, 
that T have seen more cases of drunkenness than ever I 
saw among any troops in the world, and the mistaken 

68 Catholic church at sT. LotJli?. 

humanity or pride that lias forbidden corporal punislt- 
ment, has not apparently substituted any efficient method 
of maintaining discipline. In fact, the American pea- 
sant, thougli a brave and hardy man, and expert in the 
use of the rifle and musket, is naturally the worst soldier 
in the world, as regards obedience and discipline. He 
has been brought up to believe himself equal to the offi- 
cers who command him, and never forgets that when his 
three years of enlistment are over, he will again be their 

The most quiet orderly soldiers now in the American 
army, are the Irish, Scotch, and German emigrants, who 
are in considerable numbers, and generally remain longer 
than the above mentioned term. However, it is a well- 
known fact, and one which speaks volumes, that nearly 
one quarter of the army desert every year.* In military 
appouitments, commissions, and promotions, in the 
United Slates army, favour has, at least, as much advan- 
tage over merit as in England ; the only difference beings 
that in the former, political interest and election intrigues 
are the chief moving powers, and are not, as in the 
latter, mingled with aristocratic influence. 

We arrived again at St. Louis without accident on the 
12lh (Sunday.) I went to see the Catholic churchy 
which is the boast of that part of the country. The 
portico is good, and the exterior of the building is belter 
than most of the specimens of Greek architecture in this 
country ; but it by no means deserves ihe praises be- 
stowed upon it, being very faulty both in design and pro-~ 
portion. In regard to the latter especially, the spire is 
a great deal too larae for the tower supporting it. The 
interior is better proportioned, and has altogether a pleas- 
ing effect: the columns, cornices, pilasters, transparencies, 
&c., together wilhtvvo or three pictures, were painted by a 
French artist. I was fortunate enough to obtain him as my 
cicerone through the church, after the termir.ation of the 
service. He was a beautifully embodied personification of 
Parisian art — a very good-looking fellow, wiih a pink 

* This was correct when it was written, in 1835. I am not awaref 
whether any important alterations have been eiiectetl since that date. 


and white complexion, well arranged hair, and neatly 
trimmed whiskers ; having a very complacent opinion of 
his own abilities, and a shrug of the shoulders for some 
of the peculiarities of men and manners in the valley of 
the Mississippi. 

His object in painting the interior decorations appears 
to have been, not to " rival all but Raphael's name be- 
low ;" but to put on a given number of yards of paint, 
and transfer a given number of dollars to his own pocket, 
in a given number of hours. He, accordingly, completed 
xhe u'liole uf his operations wiihin eight months, as he 
boasted to me ! Now, the church is very large ; every 
window is covered by a large transparency painted by 
him ; and besides the half-dozen sacred pictures, there is 
a great profusion of painting in every part of the building. 
I have no doubt that, if Michael Angelo, or any of his 
distinguished pupils, had engaged in the same work, it 
would have cost more years of labour than it cost months 
to our Parisian knight of the easel ; indeed, I could 
scarcely keep my risible muscles in due subjection, while 
he explained to me that he had not worked and plodded 
at it with a small pencil, as some painters do ; but that 
he had taken a good large brush, and laid on the colour 
rapidly, broadly, and boldly. Here he waved his right 
hand to and fro, like a fellow painting a door or a railing : 
'* Comme ga — click — click — poof — poof — poof." 1 was 
really vexed at the careless folly and vanity which thus 
marred the performances of a man who possesses con- 
siderable talent ; is an excellent draughtsman ; and who 
might, by applying ordinary care and industry, have done 
more justice to himself and to the subjects which he was 
called upon to illustrate. 

I found St. Louis an extremely dull town, and began 
to believe in the reports which had reached me in de- 
scending the Ohio, that it contained less gayety and hos- 
pitality than any place of the same size in the United 
Stales. The boarding-houses and taverns are very in- 
ferior in their accommodations, especially the former. 
V and I were put into a garret, where we had diffi- 
culty in procuring two chairs and a table. The provisions 
were as scant and small as the furniture ; and I looked 


forward with no little satisfaction to a tour which I pro- 
posed to make up the Mississippi. 

On the following day I went out to see Jefferson Bar- 
racks, and to spend the day with Lieutenant C , 

from whom I had before received so much kindness at 
Fort Leavenworth. These barracks are agreeably and 
beautifully situated on tlie western bank of the river, of 
which ihey command a noble prospect; they are about 
ten miles below St. Louis : there is nothing remarkable 
in their construction or arrangement. The only thing ex- 
traordinary that I observed was, that the band was better 
than any 1 had ever heard in any military post; it was 
composed chiefly, if not altogether, of foreigners, Ger- 
man and others. 

Half way between St. Louis and these barracks is the 
old French village, called " Vin des Poches," for what 
reason I never could learn, although there are half-a- 
dozen etymological fables regarding it : its proper name 
is Carondelet, but few of the inhabitants would know it 
by that appellation. It is a quaint and rather pretty ham- 
let, commanding at one point a most beautiful view of 
the river and its wooded banks and islands. 

Half way between this place and St. Louis is the 
arsenal, which is not yet completed, but appears to be 
one of the best and most solid buildings in the western 
country. I was invited to dine with the officer com- 
manding it, a gentlemanly agreeable man, and was 
pleased to find in his wife a lady lelated to, and acquaint- 
ed with, some of my friends in Virginia. This house I 
found to be the most comfortable in its arrangements in 
every branch, from the drawing-room to th^ kitchen, 
that I had visited for many months ; and I must not for- 
get to mention a certain plum-pudding, which would have 
done the highest credit to the artiste o{ the London Ta- 
vern, or the Lord Mayor's cook. Mrs. S played and 

sang with miich taste, and I cannot express bow delighted 
I was again to enjoy the soft music of Germany and the 
sweet south, after being so long condemned to the rough 
grunts and yells of the Pawnees. 

I returned to St. Louis after spending a very pleasant 
evening, and regretted much that my proposed journey 


prevented my accepting the kind invitation to protract 

my Slay, which was given me by Capiain S . The 

following evening I was forlunate enough again to enjoy 
some delightful music in the house of Mr. P , a Ger- 
man resident in St. Louis. The family were just about 
to remove to some of the eastern cities, in order to com- 
plete Miss P 's studies, and to afford a fair field in 

which to display her musical abilities. The piano was, 
unhappily, very old and out of tune ; but, in spite of this 
disadvantage, it was easy to perceive that this young 
lady, w^ho was only sixteen years of age, possessed much 
taste, feeling, and a beautiful touch. I had no doubt of 
her success in the musical world. 


Embark on the Mississippi. — Droll t^encontre. — Subjection of Indian 
Tribes. — Keokuk. — Atrocious Exploit. — Passing the Rapids. — Fort 
des Moines. — Frequent Desertions from this Post. — River Scenery. 
— Fort Armstrong. — Fossil Remains. — Galena. — Lead Mines. — The 
Miners: their dissolute Life. — Subscription by the Irish Liberty- 
boys — Lynch Law — its Origin. — Rate of Wages among the Miners. 
— ^Price of Provisions. — Hospitable Reception at Prairie du Chien. — 
Hunting Expedition to Turkey River. — Horrible Tragedy. 

Having now arranged my plans for visiting the lead 
mines, and other districts in the neigfibourhood of the 
Upper Mississippi, 1 embarked on board the Heroijie, 

and bade adieu to my friend and companion V , with 

whom I had now passed so long a season in constant in- 
timacy. I left him with sincere regret, having fop.nd him 
invariably good-tempered, agreeable, and intelligent in 
conversation, and possessed of a most amiable and social 
disposition. However, with the hope of meeting again 
soon at Washington, or elsewhere, we parted, and 1 found 
myself once more on the broad bosom of the Father of 
Waters; his banks were now clothed in all the rich va- 
riety of autumn beauty ; the weather was mild, the vines 
and creepers of every hue turned gracefully round the 
gigantic limbs of the cotton-wood tree ; while the in- 


numerable islands, with their verdant growth of willow, 
rendered the scene delightfully varied and beautiful. 

Tliere were few passengers : 1 was fortunate enough, 
however, to find in one of them a gentleman who has 
been ma-ny years in the United States Army, and who 
related to me some interesting passages in the last war, 
as well as a singularly droll rencontre that he had had 
with a relative of mine (who has been many years dead) 
in New York, in which my informant had defeated my 
relative in a great trial of carving skill at dinner: one 
was to attack a goose, the other a turkey, and the narra- 
tor had gained the day by a drumstick, or by half a mi- 
nute, I forget which ! 

After passing Alton, a prettily situated and rising town 
on the Illinois bank, the evening closed in upon us; the 
following day we passed through scenery strongly re- 
semblino that which I had already seen. At length, we 
readied the foot of the lower rapids, at a place called 
Keokuk, after an Indian chief* of that name, who was 
well known in the war of 1882, in which the Siouxes 
and Foxes, under Black Hawk,t were finally subjected. 
They were removed from the eastern to the western side 
of the Mississippi : they are now completely broken up, 
as regards the number of their warriors, and are, more- 
over, much degraded by intercourse with the whites, 
and the use of whiskey. But they were once a power- 
ful and warlike tribe, and maintained a protracted conflict 
with ilie great Sioux nation, which is now also divided; 
one portion having remained on the Mississippi, and the 

* Or, Ke-un-ne-kak, i. e. the foremost man in Kickapoo. 

t Black Hawk is called, in his own language, (the Saki,) Muc-a-ta- 
mic, o-ka-kaik ; he is now (1835) a decrepit and feeble-looking old 
chief ; nor do I believe that ever he was a great warrior, having been a 
tool in the hands of Wa-p^-kisak, or, "the White Cloud," and other 
Indians more cunning and able than himself His son, Na-seus-kuk, 
(Whirling Thunder,) is a fine young chief This last, after the defeat 
of his tribe, in 1832, was, with his father, taken prisoner, and paraded 
through the Atlantic cities. He was present one evening at a party, 
where a young lady sang a ballad with much taste and pathos : Naseus- 
kuk, who was standing at a distance, listened with profound attention ; 
and, at. the close of the song, he took an cable's feather from his head- 
dress, and giving it to a bystander, snd, " Take that to your mocking- 
bird squaw !" 


Other having seliled on the upper waters of the Mis- 

This village of Keokuk is the lov^'est and most black- 
guard place that 1 have yet visited : its population is 
composed chiefly of the watermen who assist in loading 
and unloading the keel-boats, and in towing them up 
when the rapids are too strong for the steam-engines. 
They are a coarse and ferocious caricature of the Lon- 
don bargemen, and their chief occupation seems to con- 
sist in drmking, fighting, and gambling. One fellow, who 
was half drunk, (or, in western language, "corned,") was 
relating with great satisfaction how he had hid himself in 
a wood that skirted the road, and (in time of peace) had 
shot an unsuspecting and inoffensive Indian, who was 
passing with a wild turkey over his shoulder : he con- 
cluded by saying, that he had thrown the body into a 
thicket, and had taken the bird home for his own dinner. 
He seemed quite proud of this exploit, and said that he 
would as soon shoot an Indian as a fox or an otter. 1 
thought he was only making an idle boast; but some of 
the bystanders assured me it was a w^ell-known fact, and 
yet he had never been either tried or punished. This 
murderer is called a Christian, and his victim a heathen! 
It must, however, be remembered, that the feelings of 
the border settlers in the west were frequently exaspe- 
rated by the robberies, cruellies, and outrages of neigh- 
bouring Indians ; their childhood was terrified by tales 
of the scalping knife, sometimes but too well founded, 
and they have thus been brought to consider the Indian 
rather as a wild beast than as a fellow-creature.* 

Here we were obliged to lighten the sieam-boat, and 
to put three-fourths of her cargo into a keel-boat (a kind 
of flat-bottomed barge) in order to enable her to pass 
over the rapids: these were, however, fortunately not 
very low^ and we traversed them without difficulty or 
accident ; indeed they were not so rapid as the ordinary 

* In all the earliest accounts of the landing of white men in North 
America, whether French or Spanish, the natives are described as hav- 
ing been peaceable, and even kind to them, and it was not until they 
tiad been some time settled that any hostilities were commenced against 
them : that they were unprovoked I much doubt. 

Vol, IL-G 


Stream of the Missouri about Fort Leavenworth, but ihej 
are at limes very dangerous, the rocks being sharp and 
rugged ; tlie boat on board of which I sailed, had knocked 
a large hole in her keel during her last passage over them. 

The rapids are about fourteen miles long, and at ihe 
top of ihem is a military post or cantonment, called Fort 
des Moines. This site appears to me to have been 
chosen with singularly bad judgment ; it is low, un- 
healthy, and quile unimportant in a military point of 
view^ : moreover, if it had been placed at the lower, in- 
stead of the upper end of the rapids, an immense and 
useless expense would have been spared to the govern- 
ment, inasmuch as the freightage of every article con- 
veyed thither is now doubled. The freight on board the 
steamer, from which I made these observations, was 
twenty-five cents per hundred weight from St. Louis to 
Keokuk, being one hundred aiid sevenly miles, and from 
St. Louis to the Fort, being only fourteen miles farther, 
it was fifty cents. 

I landed at Fort des Moines only for a few minutes, 
and had but just lime to remark the pale and sickly 
countenances of such soldiers as were loitering about the 
beach ; indeed, I was told by a young man who was 
sutler at this post, that when he had left it a few weeks 
before, there was only one ofiicer on duty out of seven 
or eight, who were stationed there. The number of 
desertions from this post was said lo be greater than 
from any other in the United States. The reason is pro- 
bably this : ihe dragoons who are posted there and at 
Fort Leavenworth, were foimed out of a corps, called, 
during the last Indian war, " The Rangers ;" they have 
been recruited chiefly in the Eastern Slates, where young 
men of some property and enterprise were induced to 
join, by the flalterjng picture drawn of the service, and 
by the advantageous opportunity promised of seeing the 
"Far West." They were taught to expect an easy life 
in a country abounding with game, and ihat the only- 
hardships to which they would be exposed, would be in 
ihe exciiing novelty of a yearly tour or circuit made 
during the spring and summer, among the wild tribes on 
the Missouri, Aikansas, Plalte, &c. ; but on arriving at 


llieir respective stations, they found a very different state 
o{ things : they were obliged to build their own barracks, 
store-roonas, stables, &c. ; to haul and cut wood, and to 
perform a hundred other menial or mechanical offices, so 
repugnant to the prejudices of an American. If we take 
into consideration the facilities of escape in a steam-boat, 
by which a deserter may place himself in a few days in 
the recesses of Canada, Texas, or the mines, and at the 
same time bear in mind the feebleness with which the 
American military laws and customs follow or punish 
deserters, we shall only wonder that the ranks can be 
kept as full as they are. The officers of the army know, 
feel, and regret this ; but they dare not utter their senti- 
ments, and wholesome disr.ipline is made to give place 
10 the pride and prejudice of the " sovereign people," 
from whose fickle breath all power and distinction must 

The morning after I left Des Moines dawned in all 
the glory of a western autumn. I was on deck before 
daybreak, and saw the last faint glimmering stars " hide 
their diminished heads," as the great bridegroom came 
forth from his eastern chamber and prepared to run his 
giant course. The river was studded with a thousand 
islands, and the dank gray mist rising irregularly from 
its bosom, " hung in folds of wavy silver round" their 
varied and fantastic forms, by turns revealing and par- 
tially concealing the beauty of the woods and hills, and 
gradually creeping in graceful wreaths up the rocks and 
gigantic bluffs, w^hich confine and control the mighty 
mass of waters. 

But even the beauties of this scene were eclipsed by 
the richer glories of the evening of the same day. We 
had reached a district where the river flowed in one vast 
body unbroken by islands ; the banks were lower, and 
clothed in all the majesty of the forest, which rose, like 
Milton's " verdurous wall," immediately from the margin 
of the water, wherein the tall stems of the cotton trees 
showed like silver columns. Autumn was here decked 
in all its glory, and in every variety of hue ; the deep and 
solemn foliage of the nobler trees was relieved by the 
brilliant colours of the scarlet creeping-vines which were 


twined round iheir mighty limbs, and hung in festoons 
forming natural bowers, wherein poeis might dream, or 
dryads repose. Over all this enchanting scene, and over 
the wide expanse of water, the setting sun had cast his 
rosy mantle, and bathed it in a flood of crimson light. 

1 sat and gazed on this enchanting prospect with such 
delight, that consciousness was for a lime lost in a waking 
dream ; and when it again returned, it was only to enjoy 
a new feast of beauty ; for the short twilight of the west 
had vanished, the massive shades of the forest had 
deepened almost to blackness, while the broad and tran- 
quil bosom of the river reflected the pale and trembling 
beams of a crescent moon. How lovely, yet how dif- 
ferent, a scene from that which preceded it ? I have 
marked such a change on the face of maiden beauty, 
•when conversing with the object of her love (which is 
her sunshine) ; her soul seems seated in her eyes, and 
the *•' pure and eloquent blood" coursing in its delicate 
channels, clothes the blushing cheek, the parted lip, even 
the white brow, and the yet whiter neck, with a glowing 
and rosy hue ; but let the favoured whisperer depart, and 
the words of some indiff'erent acquaintance fall upon her 
ear, the radiance, the animation, the rosy glow, all are 
fled, and the fair listener stands in the cold repose of 
moonlight beauty. 

But I am digressing, which is generally the pleasantest 
part of a journey, not always of a narrative. 

Tiie next place worthy of notice was Fort Armstrong : 
this is an older post than Des Moines ; and as it stands 
boldly out on a high point of Rock Island, it is a more 
pleasing object to the eye of a traveller. In this neigh- 
bourhood many fine agates and geodes are picked up 
on the river shore, and in some of the limestone caves 
formed in the blufi's, are stalactites and other specimens 
interesting to the geologist. I saw here also a tooth taken 
from the head of the great American elephant, an animal 
which once existed in this county, and w^hose remains 
are sometimes mistaken for those of the mammoth, from 
which it difl'ered considerably in size, shape, and in the 
quality of its food. It is said that the skeleton of this 
animal is tolerably complete in the bed of a slrea.iii.let. 


rynning through the territory of the Sauks and Foxes, 
and many atteaipts have been made to purchase and re- 
move it ; but these Indians consider it *' medicine," and 
will not part with it. 

Leaving Fort Armstrong, the Heroine made her steam- 
ing way on tow^ard Galena. The river continued mag- 
nificently broad ; the sloping wood-clad hills, and the 
bold and rugged bluffs, presented a constant change of 

I was more comfortable in this boat than I had ever 
been in a steamer before. The captain, steward, and 
rrew, were very civil and obhging ; the table cleanly 
and well-served. But this was not all ; may I venture 
to write in what my comfort consisted ? — Yes, I must 
sacrifice gallantry to candour, and own at once that there 
were no ladies on board ! and thus I was enabled, by- 
permission of the captain, to have the ladies' cabin to 
myself during the whole jom-ney, and to read, WTite, 
and occupy myself in it as I pleased. 

In order lo show the wages that a steady well-behaved 
man can obtain, I may here mention that the steward - 
on board this boat received forty dollars (or ten pounds) 
a month, besides his board, and such perquisites or do- 
nations as were incident to his situation. 

Having passed the upper rapids (which are near Rock 
Island, and not so shallow or dangerous as those near 
Des Moines) without accident, we arrived on the second 
day following at Galena, tlie seat of the great United 
States lead mines. This town, which has risen to some 
importance,, and to a population of several thousands 
during the last few years, is situated on Fever River, 
about five miles from the point where it falls into the 
Mississippi, The Galenians, anxious for the heilthy 
reputation of their river, have circulated a story that 
"Fever River" is an awkw^ard corruption of the old 
French name of " Riviere des Feves," or Bean Hiver; 
but I see little reason to credit this version, especially as 
I have seen " Riv. de Fievre " on an old map of that 
district. However, it is of little consequence : the place 
is as healthy as any other on the Mississippi banks ; but 


its site is singularly inconvenient and circumscribed, be- 
ing surrounded on the north and west by high bluffs, so 
as to render its increase to any extent almost impossible ; 
while the ground on which it is built is so abrupt, that you 
have to climb a bank steep as the side of a house, in 
order to get from one street to another, and, in rainy 
weather, nothing short of stilts or Greenland boots can 
save a pedestrian from the mud and filth. 

The inhabitants have hitherto cared little about 
paving, improving, or lighting the streets, as the land has 
not been as yet in the market ; consequently the pro- 
perty still belongs to congress, and the only existing 
title is a right of pre-emption : a year or tw^o hence this 
evil wdll be, probably, remedied. The veins of lead in 
the neighbourhood are numerous, and very rich The 
manner of working the mines is the simplest and the 
most primitive ; a bucket and windlass are the only 
means used as yet, either for raising the mineral or clear- 
ing off the water : but, doubtless, steam will soon be ap- 
plied for these purposes. I have seen but little of min- 
ing in my life, but I should conceive that few places 
offered greater facilities than are to be found in this dis- 
trict ; and so small is the admixture of alloy, that before 
the process of smelling, eighty per cent, of pure lead is 
the average quantity obtained.' 

The customary law seems to be, that any person what- 
soever may stake off ten acres of land as yet unoccupied, 
and is entitled to all the mineral that he can find 
within that range ; and no other person can dig on 
liis ten acres as long as he is carrying on any work 
there. The miners are the most wonderful mixture 
of humanity that ever I beheld : they are from all 
parts of the world, but chiefly from Ireland, Derbyshire, 
Cornwall, and Germany. Besides the emigrants from 
the above and other places, there are fugitives from law. 
and justice, from every part of the world, thieves, pi- 
rates, deserters, &c. The wages are so high that they 
work little more than half their lime, and spend the re- 
maining half chiefly in drinking, gami)ling, quarrelling, 
dirking and pistolling one another. This picture is ra- 


tlier more faithfully descriptive of Dubuques than of Ga- 
lena, in which latter place there are sonae who have 
made mon?y, and who live soberly and respectably. 

'J'he Irish in this district are a very numerous and 
troublesome body, and have carried with them all the 
bitterness of their domestic prejudices and feuds, unsoft- 
ened by distance and unmeliowed by time. Some of 
them spoke to me of the scenes of destruction, blood, 
and revolution, which they hoped yet to see in Britain, 
with a revengeful malice which inspired me with pity 
and disgust. It is now a fact well known, that here, as 
well as in many other parts of the United IStates, a sub- 
scription was raised by the Irish, numbering in its lists 
many Americans also (the object of which was to collect 
funds for an Irish rebellion), under the name of " Sub- 
scription of the Friends of Civil and Religious Liberty." 
This plot was widely extended, and seems to have been 
nearly ripe for execution, when it was thwarted by the 
passing of the Emancipation Bill ; the bubble then burst, 
and difficulties arose as to the application of the sums 
already subscribed. In this neighbourhood about one 
thousand dollars had been collected, and the Liberty 
Boys applied the greater part of it to setting up in busi- 
ness a notorious villain, who had been one of a band of 
pirates in the Mexican Sea, and who, after commuting 
one or two. atrocious murders in or near Galena, moved 
off to Dubuques (a town fifteen miles distant, on the west 
side of the Mississippi), where he got into partnership, 
and having thought proper, one day, to murder his part- 
ner in cold blood, was, at length, hung by Lynch law. 

This term, so familiar to American ears, may require 
explanation in Europe. I believe it originated in one 
of the Southern Slates, where a body of farmers, unable 
to bring some depredators to justice, according to legal 
form, chose one of their number, named Lynch, judge ; 
from the rest they selected a jury, and from this self- 
constituted court they issued and enforced sundry whip- 
pincrs, and other ]:)unishments. During the last few 
years the settlenjents in the Mississippi valley have in- 
creased so fast, that the number of law courts have been 
found too few and dilatory ;, and the inhabitants have, in 


many places assembled together, assumed the sovereign 
authority of the law, appointed a judge Lynch and a jury 
from among tliemselves, and have punished, and fre- 
quently hanged, those brought before them. In the case 
above mentioned, few could pity the miscreant, or blame 
his executioners ; but when the question is viewed on 
broad political or moral principles, it is impossible to 
conceive a more horrible outrage upon law, justice, and 
social order, than tiiis kind of self-constituted court, tak- 
ing upon itself, in a civilized country, to decide upcn 
life and liberty. 

During the summer, 1S8p, they hanged,, in this man- 
ner, five individuals in one village on the Mississippi 
(Vicksburgh.) The fellows were gamblers and dis- 
reputable vagabonds, it is true; but I have not been 
able to hear that any crime had been proved against them 
which would have been considered capital in a criminal 
court, when they were thus hurried into eternity by the 
excited anger and passions of their self-constiluted 
judges. In the same outrageous manner they hanged, 
openly in the streets, ten or a dozen wretches called 
steam-doctors, who practised their miserable imposture 
and quackery in the south-west, and who were accused 
(rightfully or wrongfully, I know not) of being engaged 
in a plot to excite an insurrection among the negroes. 

Such, liowever, is the stale of feeling in the West, that 
I have heard many sober, wealthy, respectable looking 
citizens defend and approve of J,ynch law, as a benefi- 
cial usage in the present stale of the Western country. If 
their opinions are correct, what must the state of those 
districts be ? For myself, I can conceive no community 
except hordes of pirates, banditti, or savages, where such 
usages are defensible. If the protection of the law is 
distant, either as regards time or place, from any village, 
its inhabitants are, doubtless, justifiable in securing and 
confining any violent trangressor of the laws affecting 
life or property, and in using every proper means of 
bringing him to just punishinent ; but the hanging liim 
in the street by their own authority, is neilher more nor 
less than murder; and if any town or village is so re- 
mote as to render it extremely difficult to take ibe cul- 


prit before a legal tribunal, a sentence of death awarded 
by them remains a murder : but the greater share of the 
sin and disgrace falls upon the government, which leaves 
to its citizens a heavy and responsible office, that ought 
10 be guarded by all the solemnities and securities of 

In spite of the general loose and profligate character 
of the miners, many of them are industrious and regular 
in their habits. These persons amass a competent for- 
tune with astonishing rapidity ; but these very causes 
tend to keep the rate of wages extremely high, and the 
average character of labourers propoitionably low ; be- 
cause a steady workmen becomes in a very few weeks 
proprietor of " a lot," and requires that assistance which 
he so lately afforded to another. The price of pro- 
visions varies here to an extent almost incredible, owing 
to the inability of the neighbouring farmers to raise them 
in sufficient quantity ; consequently the steam-boats from 
St. Louis are loaded with flour and pork ; and as long as 
the navigation is easy and unobstructed, these articles 
are sold at a moderate price ; but if any accident occurs 
to impede this supply, they rise frequently one or two 
hundred per cent. With such a great and daily incieas- 
ing demand, and a fine rich country in the neighbour- 
hood, the greater part of which is for sale at a dollar and 
a quarter (six shillings) an acre, it is needless to point 
out the advantages held out to industrious emigrants. 

After staying a few days at Galena, J pursued my way 
up the river; and, passing Dubuques, Cassville, and one 
or two smaller settlements in the mineral district, at 
Prairie du Chien, an old Fiench village, immediately 
below which is a military post called Fort Crawfurd, — 
On presenting my letters of introduction, I was received 
with the same hospitality that I have everywhere ex- 
perienced from the officers of the United States army. 
A plate was laid for me at the commanding officer's ta- 
ble ; and another gentleman, in whose quarters I lodged, 
actually insisted upon my occupying his bed, while he 
slept on a sofa fitted up with a buff'alo-robe. 

The view from this cantonment is not very remark- 
able, as its position is too low to command an extensive 


prospect ; but that from the bluffs, ranged about half a 
mile in its rear, is magnificent ; and the eye can take in 
at once man}^ miles of the course of the Wisconsin, as 
well as of the Mississippi, the former river falling into 
the latter about five miles below the fort. 

1 found that two or three of the ofificers were planning 
a hunting expedition toward the head waters of Turkey- 
River (which runs from north-west to south-east, and falls 
into the Mississippi some miles below Prairie du Chien), 
where we were told that pheasants, deer, elk, and other 
game were in the greatest abundance. I requested per- 
mission to join the parly, as my object was to see the 
country ; and I could get no steam-boat, or other oppor- 
tunity of visiiintT St. Peter's and the Falls of St. 

We accordingly set out in a large boat, containing 
about twenty men, a light cart, a pony, plenty of provi- 
sions, and a due supply of ammunition. Being obliged 
to ascend the Mississippi about ten miles, our progress 
was extremely slow ; for the stream was strong, the 
head wind blowing pretty fresh (accompanied by an icy 
chilling sleet) ; and the boat could only be propelled by 
being pushed up with long poles along the shores of the 
various islands, where the current was the least formida- 
ble. However, as it was a " party of pleasure," the men 
were in the highest spirits, forgot the wet and the cold, 
and the boat echoed with jokes and laughter. A cap 
was blown overboard, and a fellow plunged head over 
heels into the stream after it ; he went some feet under 
water, rose, swam in pursuit, recovered the cap, bore it 
in triumph to land, and running up along the bank, was 
taken again on board. The island which we were here 
passing was the scene, a few years ago, of one of those 
horrible tragedies at which humanity shudders, and which 
Cooper has painted in colours equally graphic and ter- 

The Sioux and the Winncbagoes* had been for some 

* This nation is called among the Canadian French " Les Puans :" 
they came originally from the borders of Lake Michigan, near the vil- 
lages of the S.ikies and the Outagamies or Foxes, and the name by 
which they are known among early travellers is Olchagras ; according to 


lime at war, but had agreed upon a temporary cessation 
of hostilities, when a party of about eight wairiors of the 
former tribe came down to' the bank of the river, and saw 
on the island a Winnebago encampment containing ele- 
ven persons, all women and children, the men having 
gone out upon a hunting expedition : the sight of these 
helpless victims aroused the thirst of the Sioux for blood ; 
and regardless of the truce, they plunged into the river, 
swam to the island, and comm'enced an indiscriminate 
massacre. One heroic boy only escaped : he drew his 
little arrow to the feathers, buried it deep in the breast of 
one of his enemies, then plunging into the thickets, fled, 
not for safety, but revenge. Swimming the river, he lan 
down its eastern bank to Fort Crawfurd, where his dread- 
ful tale soon drew to his side many of his own tribe, 
who instantly returned with him toward the island, ac- 
companied by a parly of soldiers and several officers (of 
whom my informant was one), who were ordered to use 
their best endeavours to overtake and capture the Sioux ; 
but in the meantime, these latter, aware of the pursuit 
that would immediately ensue, completed hastily their 
murderous work, and scalping all their victims, retreated 
with their bloody trophies into the wilds of their own 

When the Winnebagoes arrived at the scene of slaugh- 
ter, their shouts and yells were deafening. Women and 
children had joined them in great numbers, and minaled 
their shrieks and lamentations with the revengeful CTies 
of the men. At length they espied the body ofthe Sioux, 
whom the brave boy had pierced with his arrow ; he was 
by this time quite dead, but had contrived to crawl a few 
hundred paces from the encampment, and thus his com- 
panions had, in the hurry of their flight, forgotten to car- 
ry off his body.* The Winnebagoes now surrounded it, 

some of whom they received the beautiful appellation of Les Puans, 
because, when first visited by the whites, their village, on the ed^e of 
the marsh, was full of stale and stinking fish. 

* The Indians never leave the bodies of their slain in the hands of 
the enemy, but carry them off at all risks and hazards. After some of 
the most bloody conflicts, in which the Americans have known that 
^u^"*! numbers of Indians must have fallen, they have often traversed 
the held of action without finding many, if any, of their dead. 


and prepared to wreak upon it all the indignities which 
fury and revenge could suggest. The minister on whom 
the" office devolved, was a handsome young girl of 
eighteen, who was the nearest relative present of those 
who had been massacred : she stept forw^ard with a 
countenance calm and unmoved, seized the scalping- 
knife, divided the bones of the breast with a skill and ra- 
pidity which proved that the w^ork was neither new nor 
unpleasant to her ; and tearing out the heart, cut it into 
small slices, which she presented warm and reeking to 
the savage men around her, who ate them in gloomy and 
revengeful silence ! 

In ihe whole history of the female sex, from the fierce 
treachery of Sisera, or the classic legend of Medea, down 
to the modern dramatic fiction of Helen Macgregor, I do 
not remember to have met with so fine a subject for the 
pencil of a Spagnoletto or a Guido, as this young and 
beautiful priestess of Nemesis, surrounded by her mur- 
dered kindred, offering the horrible banquet of the mur- 
derer's heart, not to satiate, but to excite, the vengeful 
fury of the survivors of her tribe ! Would that I could 
see it on canvass, as I now have it before my mind's 
eye, with all the splendid accompaniments belonging to 
the scene ! the glorious Mississippi sweeping by ; the 
dusky groups bending with smothered grief and rage 
over the mutilated bodies of their friends ; the white men 
in the back-ground looking on in the silence of pity and 
horror, and above all, the dreadful priestess of the bleed- 
ing heart ! Oh ! it is too horrible to think upon ! and yet 
the injury suffered by these poor savages, almost gives a 
tragic sublimity to a scene, which under other circum- 
stances could be contemplated only with loathing and 



Encampment of Winnebagoes. — Tlieir Lodges — Women of the Tribe. 
— Arrival at the Painted Rock. — March into the Interior. — Our Party 
reconnoitred by an Indian. — Lansuage of the Winnebagoes. — A 
halfbreed Interpreter. — Hunting Expedition on Turkey River. — 
Stratagemof our Indian Neighbours. — Bee-hunting. — AStag bathing. 
— Disappointment. — Search for Dser. — A Doe shot. — Prairies and 
Woods set on fire by the Indians — Critical Situation. — A Forest 
Conflagation. — Prairie Wolves. — Return to the Fort. — Fallacious 
Assertions. — Tribes in the Neighbourhood of the Fort. — An Excur- 
sion. — Ascent of a steep Bluff — Reception in a Log-hut. — Fertile 
District. — Beautiful Woodland Scene. 

After passing this tragic island we came to another, 
on which wus an encampment of Winnebagoes. As we 
expected to take in at this place a Canadian, who was 
going to hunt in the West, we landed, and were by no 
means sorry to creep into the lodges and warm ourselves, 
as we were annoyed both by cold and rain. The lodges 
of this tribe are entirely different from those of the Paw- 
nees, although like them they are formed of skins : they 
are circular, and vary in size according to the wealth or 
number of the occupants ; there are two apertures for 
the admission of light and air ; one, the door, over which 
in cold weather a kind of flap, or curtain, is made to fall ; 
the other, in the centre of the summit, by which the 
smoke escapes from the fire below. They have many, 
more comforts, such as domestic utensils for cookery, 
&c., than the Pawnees, or other wild tribes, owing to 
their proximity to, and intercourse with, the whites ; but 
they pay dearly for these in the fondness which they 
have acquired for whiskey, and the consequent diminution 
of their numbers and degradation of their character. 

The women are prettier (or rather not so homely) as 
those among the Pawnees ; but, upon the whole, they 
are less good-looking than the Menomenee girls, among 
whom I have seen a few with good features and most 

Vol. II.— H 


graceful forms. If an Indian girl is beautiful, it is inr- 
possible to avoid feeling the greatest interest for her : 
one remembers the drudgery and slavery which she must 
undergo, the low and degrading place allotted to her in 
the scale of society ; and there is a repose and resigna- 
tion in her countenance, which cannot fail to excite com- 
passion and pity, and these (as the poet tells us) prepare 
the heart for the reception of yet warmer feehngs. 

In spite of wind and sleet, we were soon obliged to 
resume our slow ascent of the river, and in due course 
of time arrived at Painted Rock, the place of our de- 
barkation. We pitched our lent in a low marshy hollow^ 
which would be an admirable situation for a temple to 
the goddess of fever and ague. On the following morn- 
ing we commenced our march into the interior; the 
whole parly (consisting of three officers, four soldiers, 
myself, and servant) was on foot, and a stout pony drew 
our baggage in a sort of springless vehicle, resembling a 
small English tax-cart. After a tedious march over a 
high, barren, and uninteresting prairie, for three days, at 
the rate of twenty or twenty-five miles a day, w^e arrived 
at the point on Turkey river at which our grand hunt 
was to commence. 

On the third day, in the forenoon, an Indian came gal- 
lopping down with a loose rein toward us. On a nearer 
approach he proved to be a Winnebago, who had left his 
band (which was distant two or three miles) to recon- 
noitre our party. We soon came up with their main 
body, which was encamped by the side of a wooded hill, 
and presented a wild and picturesque appearance. They 
had just struck their lodges, and were loading the horses 
to recommence their march, vvhen we came up with 
them. Two or three of the chiefs, and the principal men, 
were sitting, as usual, and smoking, while the women 
gathered the bundles and packs, and the boys ran or 
gallopped about, catching the more wild and refractory 
beasts of burthen. The officer of our party knew the 
chief, who had been down frequently to Fort Crawfurd, 
and we accordingly sat down and smoked the pipe of 
peace and recognition. 

The conversation between white men and Winneba- 


goes is almost always carried on in Saiikie, Menomenee, 
or some oilier dialect of the Chippeway, as their own 
language can scarcely be acquired or pronounced by any 
but iheir own tribe : it is dreadfully harsh and guttural ; 
the lips, tongue, and palate, seem to have resigned their 
office to the uvula in the throat, or to some yet more 
remote mmisters of sound. In all the Upper Mississippi 
I only he^rd of one white man who could speak and un- 
derstand it tolerably ; but their best interpreter is a half- 
breed named Poketle, who is equally popular with his 
white and red brethren ; the latter of whom have granted 
liim several fine tracts of land in the Wisconsin territory, 
where he resides. I am told that he keeps thirty or 
forty horses, and has made a fortune of above one hun-. 
dred thousand dollars. 

I fell in with him at Galena, and had half an hour's 
conversation with him, only for the pleasure of looking 
at him and scanning his magnificent and Herculean 
frame. I think he is the finest (though by no means the 
largest) mould of a man that ever 1 saw : he is about six 
feet four inches in height, and as perfectly proportioned 
as painter or statuary could desire. Perhaps his arms 
and legs are too muscular for perfect beauty of form ; 
still, that is a defect easily pardoned. His countenance 
is open, manly, and intelligent ; and his ruddy brown 
complexion, attesting the mingled blood of two distinct 
races, seems to bid defiance to cold, heat, or disease. 
He is proverbially good-natured, and is universally con* 
sidered the strongest man in the Upper Mississippi. 

He is said never to have struck any person in anger 
except one fellow, a very powerful and well-known 
boxer, from one of the towns on the river, who had heard 
of Pokette's strength, and went to see him with the de- 
termination of thrashing (or, in American phrase, whip- 
ping) him. Accordingly he took an opportunity of giving 
a wanton and cruel blow to a favourite dog belonging to 
Pokette ; and on the latter remonstrating with him on his 
conduct, he attempted to treat the master as he had treat- 
ed the dog. On off'ering this insolent outrage, he re- 
ceived a blow from the hand of Poket1;e which broke the 


bridge of his nose, closed up both his eyes, and broke or 
bruised some of ihe bones of the forehead so severely as 
to leave his recovery doubiful for several weeks. 

To reiurn to the Winnebago encampment. As the 
Indians were also upon a hunting expedition on Turkey- 
river, we all started together, and went a few miles in 
the same direction ; but we soon divided, and they pro- 
ceeded to the south-west, while our parly kept a north- 
west course ; consequently, on reaching the river, they 
were camped about six or eight miles below us. I little 
thought that these rascals would so perlinacioasly and 
successfully endeavour to spoil our sport ; but I suppose 
they considered us intruders, and determined to punish us 
accordingly. We had, in the mean time, killed nothing 
but a few pheasants and grouse ; but our object in com- 
ing to Turkey liver was to find deer, elks, and bears, all 
of which we had been taught to expect in abundance. 
We pitched our camp in a well-wooded valley (called 
here a " bottom ") formed by the river ; our wigwam 
was constructed, after the Menomenee fashion, of mats 
made from a kind of reed, and bound firmly in a semi- 
circular form to a frame-work of willow, or other elastic 
wood, fastened by strings formed from the bark of the 
elm. The soldiers cut an abundance of fire-wood, and 
we were well provided with flour, biscuit, coff'ee, and 
pork ; so that we had little to fear from cold or hunger. 

The day after our arrival we all set off" in difl'erent di- 
rections in search of game. Some of the party content- 
ed themselves with shooting ducks and pheasants ; I and 
two or three others went in pursuit of the quadruped 
game. I confess I expected to kill one or two elk, per- 
haps a bear, and common deer ad libitum; however, 
after a walk of six or eight hours, during which I forded 
the river twice, and went over many miles of ground, I 
returned without having seen a single deer. This sur- 
prised me the more, as I saw numberless beds and paths 
made by them, but no track of either elk or bear. My 
brother sportsmen were equally unfortunate, and no ve- 
nison graced our board. 1 had, however, heard a great 
many shots, some of which were fired before daylight. 

i STAG Bathing. 89 

and we soon perceived that our Indian neighbours had 
laid a plan to drive all the deer from the viciniiy of our 

We continued to while away some hours very agree- 
ably in bee-hunting, at which sport two or three of the 
soldiers were very expert. Of the bee-trees which we 
cut down, one was very rich in honey ; the flavour was 
delicious, and I ate it in quantities which would have 
nauseated me had it been made from garden plants, m- 
stead of being collected from the sweet wild flowers of 
the prairie. Our life was most luxurious in respect of 
bed and board, for we had plenty of provisions, besides 
the pheasants, grouse, &c., that we shot ; and at night the 
soldiers made such a bonfire of heavy logs as to defy the 
annoyances of wet and cold. 

The second day's sport was as fruitless as the first; 
but the same firing continued all around us, for which 
we vented many maledictions on our Indian tormentors. 
On the third day I contented myself with sauntering 
aloncr the bank of the river and shooting a few pheasants : 
evenlno- was closing in, the weather was oppressively 
warm,°and I lay down at the foot of a great tree to rest 
and cool myself by the breath of a gentle breeze, which 
crept with a low whisper through its leaves, when I dis- 
tinctly heard a plashing noise in the water at the dis- 
tance of a hundred yards. I rolled myself, silently and 
stealthily as a snake, toward the spot— the plashing still 
continued, and I thought it must be an Indian, either per- 
forming his ablutions, or walking up the bed of the 
stream, in order to conceal his foot-prints. At length 1 
reached the unwieldy stump of a fallen tree, from which 
I could command a view of the water; and raising my 
head cautiously, saw a magnificent stag bathing and re- 
freshing himself, unconscious of the glittering tube whicti 
was pointed straight at his heart. 

I never saw a more noble or graceful animal ; he toss- 
ed his ffreat antlers in the air, then dipped his nose m 
the water and snorted aloud; then he sianiped with his 
feet, and splashed till the spray fell over his sleek and 
dappled sides. Here a sportsman would interrupt me, 
saying, " A truce to your description— did you shoot hira 


through the brain or through the heart ?" And a fair 
querist might ask, " Had you the heart to shoot so beau- 
tifufi a creature ?" Alas ! alas ! my answer would satisfy 
neither ! I had left my rifle at home, and had only my 
fowling-piece, loaded with partridge-shot; I was sixty 
yards from the stag, and could not possibly creep, undis- 
covered, a step nearer, and I had not the heart to wound 
the poor animal, where there was little or no chance of 
killing him. I therefore saw him conclude his baih ; 
and then clearing, at one bound, ihe willow bushes which 
fringed the opposite bank, he disappeared in a thicket. 
I marked well the place, and resolving to take an early 
opportunity of renewing my visit under more favourable 
circumstances, returned home. 

On the following day I sallied forth with my trusty 
double rifle, carefully loaded, each barrel carrying a ball 
weighing an ounce. I chose the middle of the day, be- 
cause the deer, after feeding all the morning, generally 
go down to the streams to drink previous to their lying 
down during the warm hours of noon-tide. I crept noise- 
lessly to my stump, gathered a few scattered branches to 
complete the shelter of my hiding-place, and lay down 
with that mingled feehng (so well known to every hun- 
ter) which unites the impatience of a lover with the pa- 
tience of Job ! I suppose I had been there nearly two 
hours, when I thought I heard a rustling on the opposite 
side ; it was only a squirrel hopping from bough to bough. 
Again I was startled by a saucy pheasant, that seemed 
conscious of the security which he now gained from his 
insignificance, and strutted, and scraped, and crowed 
within a few paces of the muzzle of my rifle. At length 
I distinctly heard a noise among the willows, on which 
my anxious look was ri vetted ; it grew louder and louder, 
and then I heard a step in the water, but could not yet 
see my victim, as the bank made a small bend, and he 
was concealed by tiie projecting bushes. 

I held my breath, examined the copper caps ; and, as 
I saw the willows wavintr in the very same place in which 
he had crossed the day before, I cocked and pointed my 
rifle at the spot where he must emerge : the willows on 
the very edge of the bank move, — my finger is on the 


trigger, when, not my noble stag, but an Indian, carry- 
ing a hind -quarter of venison, junops down upon the 
smooth sand of the beach ! I was so mad with anger 
and disappointment, that I could scarcely take the sight 
of the rifle from the fellow's breast ! I remained motion- 
less, but watching all his movements. He put down his 
rifle and his venison ; and shading his eyes with his 
hands, made a long and deliberate examination of the 
bank on which I was concealed ; but my faithful stump 
was too much even for his practised eyes, and I remained 
unobserved. He then examined, carefully, every deer- 
track and foot-print on the sand whereon he stood ; after 
which, resummg his rifle and meat, he tried the river at 
several places, in order to find the shallowest ford. 

As it happened, he chose the point exactly opposite to 
me ; so that when he came up the bank, he was within a 
few feet of me. He passed close by my stump without 
noticing me, and I then gave a sudden and loud Pawnee 
yell. He certainly did jump at this unexpected appari- 
tion of a man armed with a rifle ; but I hastened to dis- 
pel any feelitigs of uneasiness by friendly signs, because 
I do not conceive such a trial to be any fair test of a man's 
courage, and 1 have no doubt that if he had given me a 
similar surprise, I should have been more startled than he 
was. He smiled when I showed him my hiding-place, 
and explained to him my object in selecting it. I took 
him home to our wigwam; and, as my companions had 
met with no success, we bought his meat for some bread 
and a drink of whiskey. 

On the following day I determined to get a deer, and 
accordingly started with two soldiers to a large grove or 
bottom, where they had seen several the evening before. 
The weather was dry ; and as our footsteps on the dead 
leaves were thus audible at a great distance, the difliculty 
of approaching so watchful an enemy was much in- 
creased. As the Indians had driven off the greater part 
of the game from our immediate neighbourhood, we 
walked ten or eleven miles up the river before we began 
to hunt; we then followed its win ling descent, and saw 
three or four does, but could not get near enough to 
shoot;, at length, one started near me, and gallopped off 


through the thick brushwood. 1 fired, and wounded it 
very severely ; il stagfgered, and turned round two or three 
iin:ies; still it got off through ihe thicket before I could 
get another sight of it. At the same lime I heard ano- 
ther shot fired by a soldier a quarler of a mile on our 
right. I looked in vain for blood, by which to track my 
wounded deer, and gave it up in despair, when, just as 1 
was making towards the river, to rejoin my companion, 
I came upon some fresh blood-tracks ; after following 
them a hundred yards, I found a doe quite dead, but still 
warm ; I thought it was the one which I had just shot, 
and liallooed to the soldier, who returned to assist me in 
skinning and hanging it up out of reach of the wolves. 
On examining the wound, the doe proved to be the one 
which he had shot, as the ball had entered on the right 
side, and I had fired from the left ; he thought he had 
missed her. 

We found no more game this day, and returned to the 
camp. The other sportstnen had met with no success. 
The Indians now set fire to the prairies and woods all 
around us, and the chance of good sport daily diminished. 
These malicious neighbours were determined to drive us 
from the district; they evidently watched our every mo- 
tion ; and whenever we entered a wood or grove to hunt, 
they were sure to set the dry grass on fire. Half a mile 
to the windward they pursued this plan so eflfectually, as 
not only to spoil our hunting, but, on two occasions, to 
oblige me to provide hastily for my personal safety : on 
the first of these, they set fire to a wood where I was 
passing, and compelled me to cross a creek for fear of 
being overtaken by the flames ; on the second, having 
watched me as I crossed a large dry prairie, beyond which 
was some timber that I wished to try for deer, they set 
fire to the grass in two or three places to the windward ; 
and as it was blowing fresh at the time, I saw that I 
should not have time to escape by flight; sol resorted 
to the simple expedient, in which lies the only chance of 
safety on such occasions : I set the prairie on fire where 
I myself was walking, and then placed myself in the mid- 
dle of the black barren space which I thus created, and 
which covered many acres before the advancing flames 


reached ils border ; when they did so, they naturally ex- 
pired for want of fuel, but they continued tlieir leaping, 
smoking, and crackling way on each side of me, to the 
right and to the left. It was altogether a disagreeable 
sensation, and 1 was half choked with hot dust and 

On the following afternoon, I went out again in a 
direction that we had not tried, where the prairie was 
not yet burnt. I could find no deer, and the shades of 
night began to close round me, when, on the opposite 
hills to those on which I stood, I observed two or three 
slender pillars of curling smoke arising out of the wood, 
which was evidently now fired on purpose by the Indians. 
I sat down to watch the effect; for, although I had seen 
many prairie fires, I had never enjoyed so good an op- 
portunity as the present ; for the ground rose in a kind 
of amphitheatre, of which I had a full and commanding 
view. Now the flames crept slowly along the ground, 
then, as the wind rose, they burst forth with increasing 
might, fed by the dry and decayed elders of the forest, 
which crackled, tottered, and fell beneath their burning 
power, they now rose aloft in a thousand fantastic and 
picturesque forms, lighting up the whole landscape to a 
lurid hue ; while the dense clouds of smoke which rolled 
gloomily over the hills, mixed with the crash of the fall- 
ing timber, gave a dreadful splendour to the scene. I 
sat for some time enjoying it ; and when I rose to pur- 
sue my course towards home, I had much difficulty in 
finding it. The night relapsed into its natural dark- 
ness ; the prairie at my feet was black, burnt, and track- 
less, and I could see neither stream nor outline of hill by 
which to direct my steps. 

I sat down again for a few minutes to rest myself, 
and to recollect, as well as I might be able, any or all the 
circumstances which should guide me in the direction 
which, I ought to take. While I remained m this posi- 
tion a band of prairie wolves, on an opposite hill, began 
their wild and shrill concert ; and I was somewhat start- 
led at hearing it answered by the long loud how) of a 
single wolf, of the large black species, that stood and 
grinned at me, only a few yards from the spot where I 


was seated. I did not approve of so close a neighbour- 
hood lo ihis animal, and I called to him to be off, think- 
ing that the sound of my voice would scare him away ; 
but as he slill remained I thought it belter to prepare my 
rifle, m case he should come siill nearer, but determined 
not to fire unless the muzzle touched his bod}^ as it was 
too dark to make a sure shot at any distance beyond a 
few feet. However, he soon slunk away, and left me 

Fortunately I remembered the relative bearings of our 
camp, and of the point whence the wind came, and after 
scrambling through a few ihickels, and breaking my 
shins over more than one log of fallen wood, I reached 
home without accident or adventure. The whole country 
around us was now so completely burnt up and devasta- 
ted, that nothing remained for us but to resume our 
march toward the fort. 

We returned by the same dull and tiresome route by 
which we had arrived. The weather was raw and cold, 
and our only occupation was to shoot a few grouse for 
dinner and supper, by wandering off to the right or left 
of the trail. We arrived safely at the cantonment, 
having been absent nearly a fortnight. Tm)se who had 
expected excellent sport must have been much disap- 
pointed; as for myself, I had been so often " taken in" 
since I came to this country, that I was rather cautious 
in giving credit to the stories of the abundance of game 
with which settlers in the western world amuse stran- 
gers. It has occurred to me lo be told, " Sir, the deer 
in my neighbourhood are actually swarming ; they come 
nightly into my garden ; we have as much venison as 
we choose to kill ; if you will come and pay me a visit, 
1 will go out with you, and insure you a dozen shots in 
a day." I have paid the visit, and "have walked with my 
host from morning till mp^ln, durinor which time I got 
one, or perhaps two shots : my consolation has been the 
renewed assurance that he never went over the same 
ground without seeing fifty deer." In fact, this ampli- 
fication forms a prominent feature of their character ; and 
not content with the extent and fertility of their territory, 
the man^nificence of their rivers and forests, all of which 


are unequalled in the civilized world, ihey will claim for 
themselves a similar pre-eminence in cases where it is so 
evidently undeserved, that a traveller feels an inclinaiion 
to discredit all alike. However, he must not allow him- 
self to be carried aw^ay by this prejudice ; although th.e 
American geese are not swans, they are very good 

During my stay at the fort, I went frequently to visit 
the lodges of Indians scattered about the neiorhbourhood : 
they consist mostly of VVinnebagoes and Menomenees 
(or wild-rice Indians); and I gathered from them as 
mud) information as possible regarding their customs and 
languages (see Appendix.) Some of the g^irls of the 
latter tribe have the prettiest features that I have seen 
among the Indians: but they have not escaped the de- 
moralization inseparable from intercourse with tlie whiles, 
and most of those who are good-looking are mistresses 
to persons in or about the garrison. Of course they do 
not consider such a connexion disreputable, and generally 
adhere to it with the strong attachment and patient 
fidelity which distinguish their character. In this neigh- 
bourhood I saw occasionally also a few Sakies, and some 
of the Ontagami (or Fox) tribe (see Appendix.) 

Having remained for some days enjoying the comforts 
and hospitalities of the cantonment, I hired a French lad 
with a cart and horse, in order that I might have an op- 
portunity of seeing the country between Prairie du Chien 
and Galena, which had been represented to be as very 
interesting and beautiful. 

I started on foot with my gun in my hand; and after 
walking six or seven miles, came to the Wisconsin river, 
which I crossed by a ferry ; after which I proceeded by 
a prairie road toward the house of a gentleman to whom 
I had been introduced at the fort, and who had invited 
me to spend a day or two with him. After leaving a 
valley formed by a streamlet running into the Wiscon- 
sin, the road led up a bluff, which was certainly the 
steepest that ever 1 saw attempted by a cart or carriage, 
not excepting the "Back-bone" of the Alleghanies, in 
Virginia, which cost me such anxiety and labour the pre- 
ceding year. However, the cart was light : I, my ser- 


vant, and the Canadian lad, worked the wheels and push- 
ed behind, while the boy urged his sturdy lutle steed by 
repealed cries of " Allons !" " Marche done !" &c. By 
dint of our joint efforts, and tacking frequently in the 
course of the ascent, we reached the summit in safety, 
although the pony's exertions caused him to fall more 
than once, and it required all our strength lo prevent the 
whole caravan — ^.men, horse, cart, and baggage — from 
rolling together to the bottom of the hill. 

At the corner of a maize field, about twenty-five miles 
from the fort, I had been directed to bear off to the right- 
hand. T accordingly did so ; and after losing my way 

only once among the woods, reached Mr. E 's house 

just as evening was closing in. Like many of the emi- 
grants into this coimtry, which was so lately a wilderness, 
he lived in a small log-hut, less spacious and weather 
proof than the cottage of the poorest English peasant ; 
but with a good fire, a warm welcome, and a smoking 
hot supper, he must be but a poor traveller who cannot 
make himself comfortable. My hostess, his lady, went 
about her cabin " on hospitable thoughts intent," and 
left me leisure lo play wiili a. fine little child of seven or 
eight years old, who was the youngest and of course the 
pet of the family. Just by the door, suspended by the 
neck, were three of the finest wild geese that I ever saw, 

which Mr. E had killed on the day before, at one 

shot, and the venison steaks on the supper-table contri- 
buted to the excitement of my sporting propensities; 
but the weather was extremely unpropitious for deer- 
hunting, as the frost was hard, dry, and still, so that a 
hunter's foot might be heard for several hundred yards ; 
consequently we saw a few, but did not fire a shot, on 
the morning after my arrival. 

The district which I had now reached is one of the 
most tempting to an emigrant of any that I have seen : 
it is watered by the Grant river, one of the most beau- 
tiful winding streams in America ; its banks are here and 
there clothed with the finest limber, abounding in deer 
and other game ; in some places it has formed a deposite 
of alluvium, on which corn, grass, and every vegetable 
production can be raised in the greatest abundance. 


T'he general character of the country is undulating (or, 
as it is termed in America, " rolling "), the soil is of the 
finest quality, and a ready market for farm produce can 
be found at "^several neighbouring towns, such as Prairie 
du Chien, Galena, Dubuques, and other places, where 
the mining population already requires twenty limes the 
supply that the country farmers can afford ; while the 
unexplored mines of lead render the value of land great 
beyond calculation : at tliis time it was in the market at 
one and a quarter dollar per acre, the fixed government 

In one respect I prefer it very much to any situation 
that I have seen in the Great Mississippi valley, namely, 
in its healthiness. Fever and ague, those dreadful 
scourges of Illinois, Missouri, and tlie other states bor- 
dering on the great western water, seem here unknown; 
and the inhabitants are also free from the pulmonary com- 
plaints so common in the eastern sates. In the coo- 
lies,* or little valleys, lying between the ridges of hill, 
by which the country is intersected, are springs of the 
purest and most delicious water ; while all the vegetables 
most valuable for domestic use, are raised abundantly 
with the least possible cultivation. Ireland herself can- 
not boast of potatoes more mealy or farinaceous, nor did 
I ever see them attain so great a size ; one of them is 
someiimes put into a dish alone, and is sufficient for two 
or three persons. Peas, beans, turnips, and beet of 
every description, come to the same perfection ; and the 
beef and mution are the best that I have eaten in the 
United Stales. 

On the second day of my arrival it rained without 
ceasing, and there v^^as no wind ; so that there was little 
chance of sport. At night the weather changed sud- 
denly, and severe frost ensued. On the following morn- 
ing I went out soon after dawn to enjoy the fresh air, 
and the bright beams of a young sun. I never shall for- 
get the beauty of that woodland scene. Every " herb, 
free, fruit, flower, glistened wiih dew, and not only with 
dew, but with the rain of the previous day, frozen into 

* A western phrase, obviously from the French, 
V^OL. II.— I 


the most bright and shining crystals, reflecting, according 
to iheir forms, the various prismatic hues with which 
they were impregnated by the solar rays. Neither the 
pencil of the painter, nor pen of the poet, could convey a 
representation of the resplendent brilliancy of Nature's 
spangled manlle of ice on that lovely morning : the an- 
cient forest looked like one of those great crystalline pa- 
laces, created by ihe fertile imagination of Ariosto ; and 
a northern Armida might have made her bower among 
the fantastic yet graceful vines which hung from the 
spreading arms of the forest trees ; every curl of their 
** leafy tresses" terminating in resplendent icicles. I 
have seen, in the court of the sovereign, and in some of 
the assemblies of British fashion, the brow, the neck, and 
the waist of beauty, adorned with diamonds of inestima- 
ble value ; shining and brilliant they were too, — but, oh ! 
how far less bright and lustrous than those with which 
the humblest bush, or shrub, was decked on this lovely 
morning by the icy breath of winter ! 

I could not help calling to mind one of those passages, 
in which the Divine Moralist and Legislator reproves 
the vanity of man : — " Look at the lilies of the field ; 
they toil not, neither do they spin ; yet Solomon, in all 
his glory, was not arrayed like one of these !" 

'■ ■■' r 



An English Settler. — Search for Deer. — Excursion to Dubuques.— 
River Platte. — Crossing the Ferry. — The Ferryman's Extortion. — 
Ramble among the Mountains — its Excitement. — " Awkward Slue." 
— Deer Feeding. — Practice in Woodcraft. — Beautiful Scene. — Din- 
ner in the Ferryman's House. — A Western Twilight. — Arrival at Du- 
buques. — Company in the Bar-room of the Tavern. — Meeting with 
Dr. M. of the United States A.rmy. — Our Dormitory. — Singular Dia- 
logue. — Theft rare in the Towns on the Mississippi. — Mines near 
Dubuques. — Religious Service in the Town. — A Bully. — Whimsical 
Delusion. — Tomb of a Spanish Miner. — Mr. F. the Geologist. — 
Arrival at St. Louis. — Mean Extortion. 

I REMAINED another day with my host on Grant river, 
and then proceeded to a farmer's house about fifteen 
miles farther to the south. The soil here was much the 
same in quality as that which T had just left. Settlers 
were rapidly emigrating into this country; among them 
I found an English labourer and his wife, who had just 
finished the building of a neat wooden cottage, the inte- 
rior o-f which, with its corner cupboard of Staffordshire 
crockery, gave sufficient evidence of the land whence 
its occupants came : they had only been settled in this 
quarter two years, but every thing around them bore the 
marks of comfort and prosperity ; cattle, pigs, and poul- 
try, loitered round their cabin, a pair of stout horses 
stood in the corner of an enclosure feasting on a heap of 
maize, and the table was well supplied with milk, tea, 
butler, venison, potatoes, and honey. It was impossible 
(in spile of that love of home which amounts in me to a 
prejudice) not to contrast in my imagination their present 
situation with that which they filled three years ago as 
day labourers in Staffordshire ; the man earning with 
difficulty two dollars per week, and either suffering all 
the miseries of poverty and want, or squabbling with an 
overseer for some pitiful allowance of two or three shil- 
lings extra, in consequence of having encumbered him- 
self and the parish with a fine family of children. 


I found at my new halting-place several woodsmen 
who were out in search of deer : I accompanied them, 
and on the first day one of them killed a buck ; 1 did not 
get a shot. On the second day I was more successful, 
as I wounded one in the morning, which we afterwards 
secured; and later in the day I killed another deer, but 
it was young, and not very fat. 

I then left my serva)>t and baggage to go on to Galena, 
while I struck off on foot to see the country, with the 
intention of crossing the river to Dubuques, which I have 
before noted as being remarkable for the rich mines of 
lead in its neigiibourhood. As the distance was about 
forty-five miles, and I wished to arrive by daylight, I did 
not judge it prudent to decline my worthy host's offer of 
a horse for the first ten or fifteen miles. I accordingly 
took with me only a pedestrian's proper equipage ; name- 
ly, a tooth-brush in my pocket, and a walking-stick in 
my hand, and started, accompanied by a boy, who was to 
act as guide, and to lead back my steed. 

I rode the fifteen miles through an undulating wooded 
country only partially "settled," but possessing every 
advantage and capability for agriculture; namely, rich 
soil, fine timber, and excellent water. J then sent back 
the boy ; and getting all the information possible respect- 
ing the paths to the right, to the left, round one hill tnd 
across another, and receiving repealed assurances that I 
could not miss my way, (for the good reason, that my 
informant, knew it as well as a cockney knows the road 
to Highgate,) I struck alone into the woods. All went 
right for the first few miles, and I trudged merrily along, 
astonishing thequiet old forest sometimes with the "High- 
land Laddie," or " Bomie Prince Charlie ;" sometimes 
attempting the Pawnee yell, (which last, by the by, would 
ten years ago have transferred my i>ca]p into the hands 
of some prowling Saki,*) when my mirth and music 
were sr.ddenly checked by a fork in the little path which 
I was following. The two new trails were equally dis- 
tinct ; both seemed to lead toward the Mississifipi, and 
I had been told to take the first path to the right : I he- 

* This territory belonged then to the tril>e called Sakies and Foxes^ 


sitated a minute or two, during which I consuhed my 
compass, and had time to observe faint traces of a horse's 
hoof in that which led to the left; and, as I knew that I 
had to cross a horse-ferry over the river Platte,* I struck 
off into the latter, in defiance of my instructions. My 
" calculations" proved correct, and after an hour's brisk 
walking I reached the said ferry. 

This river Platte is a beautiful winding ^stream, about 
as large as the Trent, near Nev^ark or Clifton. The 
weather was extremely cold ; a little snow had fallen, 
and this rendered the finding of a small path in these 
woods no easy task, as no person or animal had passed 
it since the snow-fall. I hailed some people who were 
on the opposite bank at work, to bring me over a boat, 
or some means of crossing : they hallooed to ask if I 
could *' paddle a sJdfft ;*' on my answering in the affirma- 
tive, I was told, that, if I looked down the stream, I should 
find one in the reeds, and I might paddle myself over. 
The shore was marshy, and the frost just hard enough 
to make a kind of crusted mud, which would not bear 
my weight, but would (and did) considerably annoy my 
ancles and shins ; however, there was no remedy, and I 
scrambled on through the reeds, (from which the sun had 
melied the snow just enough to wet me up to the shoul- 
ders,) and, at length, discovered the shift, a huge, clumsy 
canoe, hollowed out from the trunk of a sycamore ; it 
contained no bench to sit upon, and was half full of wa- 
ter : altogether, I fancy it must have been a specimen of 
naval architecture not unlike the old ship Argo ; how- 
ever, my classical parallel must stop here, for 1 claim no 
resemblance to Theseus, and was much more disposed 
to attack a leg of mutton than to go in quest of a golden 

I seized the paddle and pushed off; and as I sat in 
this floating cold bath, and made it creep sluggishly 
through the water, I muttered to myself (not for the first 
time in my life) old Horace's " IIU robur et ces triplex /" 
My craft was so water-logged that the least lateral mo- 

* The rivers in America have undergone almost as much red'i plica- 
tion of appellatives as her cities. In my western tour I have already 
met with four rivers named " Platte." 



tion would have filled and sunk her; and I began to think, 
if f were to be drowned there, what would be mv elegy. 
Should I, if 1 stuck belween the reeds and mud, find any 
bird to sing over me (like the swan in Maeander) " Sic 
uhijata vocant udis abjectus in herbis /"' should J, like 
Palinurus, immortalize the " unknown strand" on which 
I was cast? Was there any Milton to make a Lycidas 
of me ? Alas ! no. My elegy must have come' from 
the pen of the great comedian, " Que (liable allait-il 
faire dans cette galere ?" 

Despite these melancholy m.usings, I brought my 
x\rgo safe into port, sprang up the bank, and proceeded 
to question the " orentieman of the ferry," (who, with his 
hands thrust comfortably into his side-pockets, and a quid 
in his clieek, had been a tranquil spectator of my naviga- 
tion,) respecting my route toward the next ferry where 
I was to cross the Mississippi. He told me " that there 
was a path through the woods, that the distance was 
only eight or ten mdes, but that I could not go on foot 
on account of an obstacle in the form of an 'awkward 
slue.' "* Upon interrogating him farther respecting this 
"creek," to which he applied the expressive epithets of 
"ugly" and " awkvv'ard,"! 1 learned that he considered it 
too vvide to leap, loo shallow to swim, and too deep in 
mud to wade ; and that I must go around and head it, 
which would not take me more than four or five miles 
out of my way. All this did sound somewhat " awk- 
ward ;" but I determined to adopt the motto of a sporting 
member of congress, well-known through all America, 
" Go-a-head ;" and I was about to do so, when the ferry- 
man reminded me that I had not paid, and put forth his 
hand for half a dollar. It did appear rather queer, that 
after breaking my shins among his half-frczen marshes, 

* I do not know how to spell this word : its general acceptation in 
the West is a channel made in the great river by an island ; the smaller 
branch running between that island and the nearest shore is called " a 
slue." The place that I was about to cross was, properly speaking, 
" a creek." 

t I believe these two words are perfectly orthodox in the sporting 
world in the " old country ;" and there is no MeJtonian to whom the 
terms "an awkward brook," and an '*ugly fence," are not unpleasantly 


and then exposing my life to the attacks of rheuraatisnr, 
catarrh, 6cc., in bringinor over to him his half-sunk canoe, 
I was to pay him for ferrying me ! 

While I was deliberating upon tlie propriety of making 
or resisting this payment, a drover came up who wished 
to have two yoke of oxen taken over. The large flat- 
boat was in still worse trim than my Argo, and conse- 
quently could not go over at all ; and he had no alterna- 
tive but to force his oxen into the river, and make them 
swim over. When I found that this fellow paid the 
ferriage for his oxen under these circumstances, I fol- 
lowed his example without murmur or hesitation — so 
great is the consolation which we derive from seeing our 
neighbour worse cheated than ourselves. Fortunate in- 
deed is it for the worthy ferryman, that the ex-member 
for Middlesex does not flourish in this district ; for never 
was service non-performed so overpaid, nor sinecure so 
complete as his ; no, not in all the treasury records from 
the lime of the administration of Sir R. Walpole till that 
of Lord Grey. 

? Wishing him ''good morning," I started again at a 
brisk pace, revolving in my mind the various plans by 
which r should attempt the passage of the "awkward 
slue." I had now got among the high and steep blulTs 
which extend along the eastern shore of the Mississippi ; 
my foot was on a hill ; I had walked just far enough to 
stretch my muscles and to raise ray spirits, and I bounded 
along, leaving " care the canker" far behind. Brandish- 
ing my knotted cudgel, I felt not quite like Ascanius, as 
if I " wished to see a bear or tawny lion spring from the 
thicket ;" but as if I could have cracked the crown of the 
clerk of Copmanhurst himself in a good-humoured bout 
at quarter-staff. Indeed, I have never known such ex- 
citement from any exercise, not even from the head-long 
gallop of a buffalo chase, as I have experienced from a 
solitary walk among mountains ; thoughts crowd upon 
thoughts, which I can neither control, nor breathe in 
words; I almost feel that I am a poet, but (as Byron 
beautifully expresses it) I "compress the god within 
me." All the beloved dwellers in the secret cells of my 
memory walk by my side — I people the height of th§ 


hill, and the shades of the forest, not only with those 
whon:i I have known, but with all nny friends from fairy 
land ; and, m these illusions of nny waking dream, I for- 
get time, fatigue, and distance, and sometimes lose my 
way ! 

My head full of these strange fantasies, and my feet 
feeling the sympathetic impulse of their excitement, a 
short hour brought me to the edge of the " awkward 
slue." It was indeed worthy of its appellation, and very 
nearly answered the description of the ferryman : it was 
a lazy muddy stream, with soft marshy banks, from 
which the boldest leaper amoncr the Tyrolese chamois- 
hunters could not have attempted to spring. I soon 
found that my only alternative lay between going round 
or bridging it ; of course, I resolved upon attempting the 
latter. Unfortunately, I had no tomahawk with me, and 
was compelled to search about till 1 could find some fal- 
len tree which would bear my weight, and yet not be too 
heavy for me to drag or carry. Propitious Fate led me 
to a poplar of four or five inches diameter, which had 
been overthrown by the rough breath of Boreas ; I broke 
off as many branches as possible, and wiih some difficulty 
"toted" my burthen toward the slue : on reaching the 
bank, I found that my tree was scarcely long enough ; 
at least, it tapered so much toward the upper end, that 
I could not discreetly trust my weight to the latter ex- 
tremity. On examining a little farther up the stream, I 
saw an old decayed log projecting into it from the op- 
posite side, which appeared lo have once formed part of 
a foot-bridge ; thither I brought my poplar, and made it 
fall so that its top came across this old log: the only 
problem now was, whether the latter was rotten, and 
would betray the confidence which I was about to repose 
in it. However, we are often compelled, in life, to trust 
something to a man whom we know to be a rogue ; and 
having no choice but to trust my frail bridge, or remain 
where I was, (for what man, under thirty years of age, 
ever thought of going five miles round a creek not thirty 
feet broad ?) I threw my cudgel, shoes, and jacket over 
before me, with the same mingled spirit of gallantry and 
desperation with which Turenne threw his baton do 


marechal into the ranks of the enemy, and, then, not to 
follow was impossible. Arming myself with a loner pole 
that could reach the bottom of the stream, and steadying 
myself on the trembling poplar, I came down to the 
'* slippery verge," and made my vows to the nvmph of 
the flood, as Tarnus did to his watery goddess-mother; 
I addressed the fifty daughters of Nereus, who preside 
over rivers and fountains ;* in short, like Gray's immortal 
Pussie, I " mewed to every watery god ;" and with three 
or four steps, as firm, light, and rapid as I could make 
them, reached the opposite bank in safety. Having 
thanked all these propitious nymphs for their favour iu 
permitting me to pass the " awkward slue," (which cost 
me so much trouble to bridge, and which has led me into 
the worse scrape of bringing Turenne, Turnus, an 
Athenian chorus, and a cat, all into one sentence,) I left 
my bridge and my pole for the benefit of the next way- 

To resume my journey, and with it a pure Anglo- 
Saxon style, from which these classic images have se- 
duced me, I put on my jacket, and with my trusty staff 
in hand, pursued my way over hill and valley, as proud 
and self-satisfied as Caesar after he had made his famous 
bridge over the Rhine. The sun was verging toward 
the west, and I wished to reach Dubuques before night, 
lest I should lose my way. The afternoon was beauti- 
ful ; the Sim brilliant; and the variety of light and shade 
occasioned by the high bluffs among which my path 
wound, added a living freshness to scenery which was 
clothed in tlie rich and sombre garb of autumn. 

What do I see over yonder point ? Is it a forked 
piece of stick ? Does it not move ? — It does ; — it is ihe 
antlers of a buck ! Oh my rifle ! my rifle ! why, for the 
first time in my western tour, have I parted from thee ? 
Never did the unhorsed and desperate Richard, call with 
more frantic anxiety for a horse, than I now called for a 

Trsv-rjuovra Kovpac 

NTjfJECJC, 0.1 Kara tcovtov 
dEi'vuu)v ffrr^^sW/Qv 
divag x^pevofievm^^eer^Tit; 



rifle. It was all in vain. However, the opportunity for 
practice in wood-craft was not to be lost; and ihrowing 
myself on the ground, I began to creep, in order to see 
how I could have managed him, had I been armed : get- 
ting well on his lee-side, and taking advantage of the 
ground, I crawled within forty paces of him. There 
was no brushwood, and he was securely cropping the 
short sweet grass near the summit of a high bluff, along 
the side of which were scattered a few fantastic and 
stunted blurr oaks. Like the Shakspearean Achilles 
(who, by the by, is as mean and cowardly a bully as 
ever drew breath), I looked my forest Hector all over, 
and selected the very spot where I could give the fatal 

Peeping cautiously over the comb of the hill, I saw at 
a small distance two does feeding. I crept also within 
forty or fifty steps of them ; they seemed to trust them- 
selves altogether to the escort of their beau, and to pay 
exclusive atienlion to the delicate pasture which " Na- 
ture boon" had placed before them. 

What a beautiful scene it was ! below me lay the vast 
expanse of the Mississippi, on whose unruffled bosom the 
rays of the declining sun were 

" In all their crimson glory spread." 

The back-ground was filled by the dark wooded outline 
of the ^lack Hawk territory, while on the chequered and 
undulating prairie, these three beautiful animals filled the 
fore-ground of my picture. 

I forgot my journey in the contemplation of this pros- 
pect, and my musings took the following direction : — 
" Wiiat a creature of circumstances is man ! — here am I 
enjoying the repose of this scene, the harmonies of ani- 
mate and vegetable nature, and watching, almost with a 
feeling of tenderness, the grassy feast and playful move- 
ments of these three innoceni creatures ! but, had I been 
walking with my rifle instead of my cudgel, not one of 
these ideas would have entered my brain ; I should have 
destroyed without mercy certainly one, perhaps two, of 
these deer; and instead of moralizing as I now am, over 
their grace and beauty, I should have been employed in 


playing the forest butcher with my hunting-knife, and in 
ascertaining the quantity of fat on the haunch and ribs !" 

I was obliged to startup from these meditations, and to 
increase my speed in order to cross the Mississippi be- 
fore night-fall. As it was now a continued descent to 
the ferry, I ran most of the way, although there were 
many points where the beauty of the view tempted me 
to linger. On arriving I found that the ferryman's canoe 
was ready, and that he wished me to lose no time, as he 
preferred returning before it was quite dark. He farmed 
a considerable tract of land ; and, like every farmer in 
the West, " kept entertainment." Unfortunately for the 
alacrity of my movements, I saw, while passing the 
house, a table covered with a clean white clotli, on which 
were already placed sundry vessels containing hot corn- 
bread, fresh butter, milk, honey, and smoking potatoes; 
while the figure of the busy housewife stooping over the 
fire, accompanied by a certain hissing frizzing sound, 
announced that a dish of steaks was in the lasi stage of 
preparation. It will readily be believed that, after a ride 
of fifteen, and a walk of twenty-five miles (not to mention 
the construction of a bridge by the way), my eyes were 
not bhnd, nor my ears deaf, to these sights and sounds ; 
I hesitated — the proverb says that he who does so is 
lost : whether I verified it or not, I know not, but in two 
minutes I was sitting opposite the traveller for whom 
this dinner had been prepared. He seemed to be a quiet 
moderate man, totally unequal to tfie task of making any 
serious impression on the plentiful provision before him ; 
but the unflinching appetite of his ally promised an easy 
victory. The astonished dame stooped again to replen- 
ish the dish of venison steaks — more hot cakes were pro- 
duced ; in short, I might venture to assert without va- 
nity, that ample justice was done to the excellent cook- 
ery of mine hostess. I then embarked in the boat with 
my ferryman ; and soon after leaving the shore, induced 
him, by paying double fare, to land me two miles below 
the usual landing, by which means I should cut off four 
of the eight miles which yet remained of my journey. 

The sun was now throvi'ing his parting glance on the 
summits of the eastern bluffs, while those on the west 


slept in gloomy shade ; the woods which skirt the river, 
were silent and black as night, and the river wore that 
dead and leaden colour which is thrown upon it by a 
western twilight ! 1 sat in the slern of the little boat, 
steering her with an oar, and enjoying that greatest of all 
promoters of philosophical meditation — a cigar. The 
evening frost now set in with great severity ; the stars 
began to twinkle ; and as J was lightly dressed and had 
no sort of cloak or over-coat, I was not sorry when we 
reached the opposite shore, and I was again enabled to 
walk myself into warmth and comfort. 

I reached Dubuques without accident, and proceeded to 
the only tavern of which it can boast. The landlord, 
whom i had met in the steamer, on ascending the Mis- 
sissippi, promised me abed to myself; a luxury that is 
bv no means easily obtained by travellers in the West. 
The bar-room, which was indeed the only public sitting- 
room, was crowded with a parcel of blackguard noisy 
miners, from whom the most experienced and notorious 
blaspliemers in Portsmouth or Wapping might have 
taken a lesson ; and I fell more than ever annoyed by 
that absurd custom, so prevalent in America, of forcing 
travellers of quiet and respectable habits into the society 
of ruffians, by giving them no alternative but silting in 
the bar-room or walking the street. 

It may be said that 1 am illiberal in censuring the cus- 
toms of a country, by reference to those of a small infant 
village ; but the custom to which I allude is not confined 
to villages; it it conmion to most towns in the West, 
and is partially applicable to the hotels in the eastern 
cities. They may have dining-rooms of enormous extent, 
tables groaning under hundreds of dishes ; but of com- 
fort, quiet, and privacy, they know but litlle. It is doubt- 
less true, that the bar of a small village tavern in Eng- 
land may be crowded with guests, little, if at all, more re- 
fined or orderly than those Dubuques miners, but I never 
found a tavern in England so small or mean, that I could 
not have the comfort of a little room to myself, where I 
might read, write, or follow my own pursuits without an- 

I sat by the fire-side watching the strange and rough* 


looking characters who successively entered to drink a 
glass of the nauseous dilution of alcohol, variously ca- 
loured, according as they asked for brandy, whiskey, or 
rum, when a voice from the door inquiring of the land- 
lord, whether accommodations for the night were to be 
had, struck my ear as familiar to me. I rose to look at 
the speaker, and our astonishment was mutual, wiien I 
recognized Dr. M., of the United States army, who is a 
relative of its commander-in-chief. He is a very plea- 
sant gentlemanly man, from the state of New York, whose 
acquaintance I had made in my trip to Fort Leaven- 
worth, to which place he was now on his return. After 
an exchange of the first expressions of pleasure and sur- 
prise, I assisted him in getting up his baggage from the 
canoe in which he had come down the river, and in de^ 
spatching a supper that was set before him. We then 
returned to the bar; and after talking over some of our 
adventures since we parted, requested to be shown to 
our dormitory. This was a large room, occupying 
the whole of the first floor, and containing about eight 
or nine beds ; the doctor selected one in the centre of 
the wall, opposite the door ; I chose one next to him, 
and the nearest to me was given to an officer who ac- 
companied the doctor. The other beds contained two of 
three persons, according to the number of guests require 
ing accommodation. 

The doctor, his friend, and I, resolutely refused to ad- 
mit any partner into our beds ; and, notwithstanding the 
noise and oaths still prevalent in the bar, we fell asleep. 
1 was awakened by voices close to my bed-side, and 
turned round to listen to the following dialogue : — 

Doctor (to a drunken fellow who was taking off his 
coat and waistcoat close to the doctor's bed). — " Halloo ! 
where the devil are you coming to?" 

Drunkard. — " To bed, to be sure !" 

Doctor.—'' Where ?" 

Drunkard. — " Why, with you." 

Doctor (raising his voice angrily). — " I '11 be d — d if 
you come into this bed !" 

Drwri/carti (walking off with an air of dignity), — " Well^ 

Vol. JL— K 


you need not be so d — d particular ; — I 'm as particular 
as you, I assure you !" 

Three other tipsy fellows staggered into the room, 
soon after midnight, and slept somewhere ; they went off 
again before daylight without paying for their lodging, 
and tlie landlord did not even know that they had entered 
his house. 

It certainly appears at first sight to be a strange ana- 
moly in human nature, that at Dubuques, (ialena, and 
other rising towns on the Mississippi, containing, in pro- 
portion to their size, as profligate, turbulent, and aban- 
doned a population as any in the world, theft is almost 
unknown ; and though dirks are frequently drawn, and 
pistols fired in savage and drunken brawls, ,by ruffians 
who regard neither the laws of God nor man, I do not 
believe that an instance of larceny or house-breaking has 
occurred. So easily are money and food here obtained 
by labour, that it seems scarcely worth a man's while to 
steal. Thus, the solution of the apparent anomaly is to 
be found in this, that iheft is a naughty child, of which 
idleness is the father and want the mother. 

I spent the following day in examining the mines near 
Dubuques, which are not generally so rich in lead as 
those hitherto found on the opposite shore, towards Ga- 
lena. However the whole country in the neighbourhood 
contains mineral, and I have no doubt that diggings at a 
little distance from the town will be productive of great 
profits ; at all events, it will be, in my opinion, a greater 
and more populous town' than Galena ever will become. 

The next day being Sunday, I attended religious ser- 
vice, which was performed in a small low room, scarcely 
capable of containing a hundred persons. The minister 
was a pale, ascetic, sallow looking man, and delivered a 
lecture dull and sombre as his countenance. However, 
it w^as pleasant to see even this small assemblage, who 
thought of divine worship in such a place as Dubuques. 
In the evening, there was more drunkenness and noise 
than usual about the bar, and one young man was pointed 
out to me as " the bully" par excellence. He was a tall 
stout fellow, on whose countenance the evil passions had 
already set their indelible seal. He was said to be a 


great boxer, and had stabbed two or three men with his 
dirk during the last ten days. He had two companions 
with him, who acted, I suppose, as myrmidons in his 
brawls. When he first entered, I was sitiing^in the bar 
reading ; he desired me in a harsh imperative tone, to 
move out of the way, as he wanted to get something to 
drink. There was"^plenly of room for him to go round 
my chair, without disturbing me; so J told him to go 
round if he wished a dram. He looked somewhat sur- 
prised, but he went round, and I resumed my book. — 
Then it was that the landlord whispered to me the par- 
ticulars respecting him as given above. I coiifess, I 
almost wished that he would insult me, that I might try 
to break his head with my good cudgel, which was at 
hand, so incensed and disgusted was I at finding myself 
in the company of such a villain. However, he soon 
after left the room, and gave me no chance either of 
cracking his crown, or, what is much more probable, of 
getting five or six inches of his dirk into my body. 

I could not resist laughing at the absurdity of one of 
his companions, who was very drunk, and finding that 
his head was burning from the quantity of whiskey that 
he had swallowed, an idea came into it that would never 
have entered into the head of any man except an Irish- 
man, or a Kentuckian : he fancied that his hat was hot, 
and occasioned the sensation above mentioned ; accord- 
ingly, he would not be satisfied till the landlord put it into 
a\ub of cold water, and filled it; he then desired it 
might be soaked there till morning, and left the house 
contented and bare-headed. 

I was obliged to rem.ain here yet another day, as no 
steam-boat appeared. At length the Warrior touched, 
and took us off to Galena. We stopped a short time at 
a large smelting establishment, a mile or two below the 
town : on a high bluff which overlooks it is the tomb of 
Dubuques, a Spanish miner, from whom the place derives 
its name.' The spot is marked by a cross, and I clambered 
up to see it. With a disregard of sepulchral sanctity, 
which I have before noticed as being too prevalent in 
America, 1 found that it had been broken down in one 
or two places ; I picked up the skull and some other 


bones. The grave had been built of brick, and had on 
one side a stone slab, bearing a simple Latin inscription, 
announcing that the tenant had come from the Spanish 
mines, and giving the usual data respecting his age, birth, 
death, &:c. The view from this bold high bluff is rery 
fine, but unfortunately the day on which I visited it was 

At Galena I was much gratified to find that Mr. F^ 
the geologist to the United Stales, was coming on board ; 
and being joined by my servant and baggage, we pro- 
ceeded on our descent of the river. I found that Mr. 
F., whose acquaintance I had made the year before in 
Washington, had just returned from an excursion in the 
Upper Mississippi, and the head-waters of the St. Pe- 
ter's river, during which he had been some time among 
the Yanctons (a band of the great Sioux tribe.) We 
reached St. Louis fortunately, and only bumped the keel 
of our boat three or four times on the rocks, among tlie 
rapids ; but nothing worthy of notice occurred, except 
one little ciicumstance ihustrative of character, no trait 
of which should ever be lost in traversing a country. 

It is well known that in America, especially in the 
west of it, a white servant is a being not understood ; 
and in travelling you will be asked, whether you pay for 
the gentleman who is with you ? or, whether you settle 
your friend's account ? Consequently, I have met with 
some difficulty in regard to the charges made for my 
servant in the western steam-boats ; in some I have been 
obliged to pay the full, in others,, half price. Accord- 
ingly, before bringing him on board, I explained to the 
captain, that, though a white man, he was my domestic, 
and inquired upon what terms he would take him.^ — 
After the usual arrangements about his eating and sleep- 
ing, the former of which he was to partake of after the 
cabin passengers, he agreed (in the hearing of a friend of 
mine) to take him for half price. A few hours before 
reaching St. Louis, where the fares were paid, he de- 
manded the whole fare the same as I paid for myself. — 
I reminded him of his own agreement ; however, the 
few dollars which he was to gain, were of higher value 
in his estimation than his word, and he insisted upon the 


whole fare. Among oilier mean subterfuges, he pre- 
tended ihat he had not known the man by sight. The 
captain had dined, not as usual, with the passengers, but 
after them, with the male, pilot, engineers, &c., and my 
roan had dined with them as agreed upon between us; 
but now this liberal republican added ''That if he had 
known him to be my servant, he would not have sat at 
the table with him." I could scarcely help laughing in 
his face at the aristocracy of his steam-boat captainship. 
However, I told him quieily, that, during my tour in the 
West, I had generally sat at the same table as my ser- 
vant, and that I would just as soon sit by him as by his 
illustrious self. 

I might, doubtless, have resisted this payment ; but I 
had no wish, for the sake of four or five dollars, to get 
into a law-suit, which might detain me two or three 
months in St. Louis; so 1 paid the^^um demanded by 
the captain, (who, by the by, was a smartly dressed 
young gentleman, much more fit to play the part of a 
tavern beau than master of a vessel,) and added a word 
of advice, that the next time he made an agreement, he 
liad belter keep to it. I have little doubt but that this 
sage counsel shared the usual fate of admonition, which, 
however self-evidenlly just and wise it may be, is gene- 
rally postponed to any agreeable temptation from wiihin 
or from without; the naivete of the French girl in the 
song illustrates it admirably : — 

" Je croirai ce que dit Maman, 
Je ferai ce que dit Colin." 


114 sociETr OF ST. Loirrif. 


Society of St. Louis. — A Ball. — The Waltz. — Musical Accomplish- 
ments of my Hostess. — Independent Hack driver. — Singular Charac- 
ter. — Leave St. Louis. — Travelling Party. — Embark in " The Far 
West." — Icy Obstructions in the River. — Visit to our Friends at the 
Arsenal. — Irish in America. — Mishaps. — Ignorant Pilot. — Mouth of 
the Ohio. — Shores of the Mississippi. — Mouth of the Arkansas. — 
Change of Climate. — Vicksburgb. — Big Black^Creek. — Natchez. — 
Comfortable Assurance. — Miserable Road. — The Upper Town. — 
Public Buildings. — The Theatre. — The Audience.— The Perform- 
ance. — Drunken Indians. — Leave Natchez. — Mouth of Red River. — 
December Scenery and Temperature. — New Orleans. 

On arriving at St. Louis, which is, as I remarked be- 
fore, the worst town of its size in the world for lodging 
accomnnodations, I considered myself fortunate in gelling 

a room with two beds for Mr. F and myself. By 

great exertion on the part of my servant, we got a table 
and some chairs into it, so that we could. WTite or read in 
peace and quiet. I must, however, add, injustice to the 
landlord of the National Hotel, ihat he did every thing 
in his power to render his uncomfortable house agreeable 
to his guests. During my stay in St. Louis on this oc- 
casion, I saw more of ihe society both of the town and 
neighbourhood than I had before seen, and I spent some 
very pleasant evenings in the families of the commanders, 
both of the garrison at Leavenworth and the arsenal ; 
moreover, I found my friend, Mr. Nichollet, who joins 
to his well-known acquirements in the higher branches 
of mathematical science, an exquisite taste for music, as 
well as a profound knowledge of it. Two French gen- 
tlemen in ihe town, who were also amateurs, opened 
their houses for a small musical soiree^ three days in the 
week. One of these gentlemen played very well on the 
violin, and we had two professors of the piano-forte, one 
Italian, the other German ; &o thai our evenings passed 
most agreeably. 


My friend V had declared his intention of going 

to New Orleans, when I turned my steps northward ; 
but letters from Germany had altered his intention, and 
I was delighted to meei again my old Pawnee compa- 
nion. He sang German songs very well, especially those 
Tyrolese iJgling airs, which the Rainer family rendered 
so popidar in England ; and an occasional Scotch song 
was extracted from me, which was forgiven, because I 
was a Scotchman ! 

A ball was given at our hotel ; I attended it, but was 
told that it did not include the '' ehte of the town." 
There were some pretty girls, and they danced with 
great spirit, but' jumped too much for a cotillon. The 
beaux capered away lustily ; and although ^ome of them 
indulged in strange contortions of the body, and in move- 
ments both of the foot and arm, which were intended to 
display both activity and grace, the party was conducted 
with propriety and decorum, and I have seen many gayer 
assemblies cornposed of much less happy faces. 

It must, however, be confessed, that it requires no 
small fortitude to endure the sight of the dance, which is 
meant to represent the waltz in provincial towns in Ame- 
rica. It is bad enough throughout England, except the 
best circles in London, and not excepting Edinburgh : 
but here it is even worse ; no imagination can conceive 
the rolling, the swinging, the strange undulations of the 
rotary pair; they frequently hold each other only by 
one hand, and the lady places her idle hand on her waist, 
while the gentleman flourishes his gracefully either above 
his own or his partner's head, or assigns to it some rest- 
ing-place no less extraordinary than its movements. In 
some circles in the south, elbow waltzing alone is per- 
mitted ; the lady's waist is forbidden ground, and the 
gentlemen is compelled to hold her by the points of the 
elbows, it having been held indecorous by these Pre- 
cieuses ridicules^ 

" That Waltz, that rake from foreign lands, 

Should dare, in sight of all beholders. 
To lay his rude licentious hands 

On virtuous damsels' backs and shoulders." 



What miserable nonsense is often talked and wrilteii 
on this subject ! as if anaorous or im.proper advances 
cannot be made as well by a pressure of the hand, or a 
squeeze of the arm, as by encircling \he waist, if one 
party dares to make, and the other is wilhng to receive 
them. It is an exact parallel to Mad. de Stael's rebuke 
of gome female's observation on the indecency of ex- 
posing a naked statue to view in the Louvre — " The in- 
decency is not in the statue, but in the remark." I can 
understand a father or a brother objecting to a young 
girl's waltzing, though I differ from them in opinion ; 
nay, I would respect a young lady, who, from a shrink- 
ing delicacy of character, refused to waltz at all; but 
when the answer is, " You must hold me by the. el- 
bows," or, " I only waltz with married men," — Heaven 
preserve us from such humbug and prudery ! 

During my stay in St. Louis, I went several times 
down to the arsenal, where the amiable manners, unaf- 
fected honfiommie, and musical accomplishments of the 
fair hostess, " imped feathers to the wings of Time." It 
was delightful, in Missouri, to hear the beautiful compo- 
sitions of J. Cramer, Herz, and Beethoven, played with 
a taste, feeling, and execution that would not have been 
lightly esteemed on the banks of the Thames, the Seine, 
or the Rhine ; and my national prejudices were gratified 
that Mrs. S n's mother (and teacher) had been a na- 
tive of Scotland. 

One evening I remained there with one or two friends, 
rather later than it suited the convenience of the hack- 
driver to remain ; and when we inquired for our carriage, 
it had been gone two hours. We were obliged to tres- 
pass for the night on the captain's hospitality. It snowed 
very heavily for twelve hours ; and on returning to St. 
Louis next day, we learned that our independent driver 
of the preceding evening had overturned his carriage, and 
fractured his leg in two or three places. 

At the little village of Carondelet, or Vuides-poches, 
I went to visit a strange old man, of whom I had heard 
frequent mention. As his name was Leichendorfer, I 
concluded he must be German ; but lie answered me in 
such a strange pa^oi5 of that language, that I was soon 


convinced of my error. Upon cross-examining him, 1 
discovered ihat he was from ihe Italian side of the Tyrol, 
and that his real name was Sanluario, and the rest of 
the conversation was carried on in that language, which 
he spoke with tolerable accuracy and fluency. He boasts 
of speaking German, French, Spanish, Turkish, Eng- 
h'sh, &c., all equally well. From the specimen I had 
heard of the first, I have no doubt that his claims are 
well founded ! He w^as among the sharp-shooters in the 
Austrian army at Marengo, and still hales Bonaparte 
with laudable patriotism. He was some years at Con- 
stantinople, then he went to Egypt, and contrived to ren- 
der the Pacha some services in Arabia ; after which he 
was employed by General Eaton, to assist in his expe- 
dition against the Bey of Tripoli, and was instiumental 
in restoring his brother the ex-Bey; for this he was 
made a colonel in the United States army, and lives now 
upon the proceeds of some land and an orchard, which he 
bought wath the money gained by his services. He is 
a strangely prejudiced old man, but with a fine face, and 
the remains of a very athletic frame. He has had, and 
I believe has still, several wives in the various countries 
which he has inhabited, and owns to twenty-seven chil- 
dren. He is very busy writing his life, and preparing it 
for publication : if his brain is as prolific as his person, 
and his pen bears any proportion to his tongue, the world 
may expect soon to see the work appear in twenty-seven 

St. Louis is certainly one of the least social and hos- 
pitable places that I have seen in the Ignited Slates; ne- 
vertheless, there are some exceptions to this (as to every 
general) proposition. 

I now prepared to leave the town with much regret. 
The frost had set in with considerable severity; and 
large floating masses of ice were scattered so thickly on 
the bosom of the water, that the navigation of the river 
became every day more diflicult and dangerous. I was 
anxious to get as soon as possible to New^ Orleans, be- 
cause I had desired all my European and other letters 
to be sent thither to wait my arrival. 

I was fortunate enough to be able to collect a very 


pleasant little party, and we agreed to embark and keep 

logeiher : it consisted of Captain S , a cousin and 

old acquaintance of mine in Scotland, who had been 
above two 3'ears among the Indians, in and beyond the 

Rocky Mountains ; my friend V , and a Dr. W , 

also from Scotland, a lively and w^ell-informed compan- 
ion. We took our passage on board of " The Far West," 
Captain Fox ; her machinery had been newly put in, 
and, although several parts of it were rather loose and 
out of order, the boilers were strong, and the cabin-berths, 
6cc., remarkably neat and cleanly. 

We embarked on the 29ih of November, and were 
obliged to cross the river to the Illinois side, in order to 
take in some freight. On the following day the ice ran 
so heavy and thick, that the captain dared not attempt 
to descend the river, and wn'th much difficulty regained 
the landing at St. Louis, Here we were obliged to lie 
two days. The committee of insurance came down and 
warned the captain, that, if he started while the ice was 
so dangerous, he must do it at his own risk ; and we be- 
gan to entertain serious apprehensions that the river 
would close up, and we should be shut in for the season. 
How^ever, the weather changed ; and on the afternoon 
of the 2d of December, we got off, and went down as 
far as Vuides-poches, about six miles. It was a bright 
moon, and a fine frosty night, so V and I determin- 
ed to gallop off to the arsenal, and spend one pleasant 

hour more with Captain S and his agreeable lady. 

The landlord of the tavern, a good-natured Irishman, 
lent us a couple of horses, and we set off at full speed 
over the snowy slippery road. As it was only four miles, 
we were soon at our journey's end ; and the astonish- 
ment of our friends at our appearance was not small, as 
they thought us half-way to New Orleans. They re- 
ceived us with their usual kind hospitality ; my ears got 
another Cramer feast, and our amiable hostess prepared 
a bowl of egg-nogg, which was to serve as a *' diachin 
dhorrish,''^ and to fortify us against the night air. 

Bidding them another adieu, we returned to Vuides- 
poches, and went on board about midnight. Our land- 
lord gave me a bottle of Irish whiskey, and would not 

MISHAPS-. 119 

accept of a farthing either for that or for the use of his 
horses. How grieved I am, that the Irish people tar- 
nish the generous and nobie qualities which they really 
do possess, by the violence and lawlessness of their 
habits ! In explanation of this well-known fact, we are 
always told that it is owing entirely to the oppression 
and misgovernment of the English. It may he partly 
so, but no more. The Irish in America — in every state 
from Maine to Louisiana, where they are certainly not 
oppressed, and are free from tithes, from heavy taxes, 
from ecclesiastical burthens, from want, in short, from 
every subject of complaint and grievance in Ireland, are 
still the most improvident, quarrelsome, turbulent popu- 
lation on this continent. 

Nature has been liberal to Ireland in her soil and cli- 
mate ; she has endowed its inhabitants wiih humour, 
readiness both of conception and language, bravery and 
generosity ; but she seems to have been less liberal in 
providing them with judgment and a just moral sense, the 
absence of which qualities, impairs or perverts the 
above endowments. 

On the following day, December 3d, we met with no 
accident ; but were obliged to go very slowly, in conse- 
quence of the thick and heavy masses of ice which co- 
vered the liver. On the 4th, however, our misfortunes 
began. We ran on a sand-bar at nine o'clock, a. m., but 
got off again in an hour; at eleven we ran aground 
again and stuck fast till three p. m. We grounded again 
soon after dusk, and floated off about nine, without hav- 
ing any wood on board ; and we had to drop down with 
the stream at considerable risk, for two or three miles, 
when we reached a wood-yard. 

5th. — We soon found that the pilot either knew no- 
thing of his business, or that he ran us aground on pur- 
pose; or else that the heavy descent of ice had al- 
tered the channel, and created new banks of mud or sand. 
We ran on a bar at nine a. m., and remained there all 
day. Several boats passed us : I went on board one 
with our captain, to request her assistance in hauling us 
off; her captain, however, was deaf to entreaties, and 
even to liberal offers of payment. To complete our ill- 


luck, the yawl in which we had boarded this boat (" The 
G. Clark,") was knocked under her wheel and swaraped, 
not half a minute after we had jumped out of her. kShe 
was held on by the painter; but we lost all our oars, 
and two or three of the men's jackets. We had to bail 
her out with buckets, and with much labour towed 
her, half full of water, behind "The G. Clark's" yawl, 
back to "The Far West." "The G. Clark" and her 
obliging captain then went off, leaving us in what might 
be called down-east, a "particular considerable unhand- 
some fix." 

We contrived in a few hours to rig a couple of clumsy 
sweeps, baled out the yawl, and kedged our anchor, with 
the aid of which we hauled oflf the bar ; and once more 
afloat, went down two or three miles to a wood-yard, 
where we lay-to for the night. We now thought that 
our troubles were over, as we had got through the worst 
of the ice ; but, on the following day (the (3th), nt half 
past eight, we ran on a bar near a place called Devil's 
Island. Here, T almost believed that the gentleman in 
black had possessed our pilot ; for he ran our boat right 
on a sand-bank, wdiich a schoolboy might have seen and 
avoided, inasmuch as there was a great log of wood and 
a quantity of drifted ice lying upon it. We were going 
ten or twelve miles an hour, and the boat bounded, 
jumped, and made every exertion to get over, but in vain ; 
her plunging only lodged her the deeper, and we, draw- 
ing five and a half feet, lay comfortably imbedded in mud 
and sand, with only three feet and a half of water. 

We remained here several hours; it was impossible 
to drag her off by her anchor, and I began to fear that 
her fate was sealed, and that we (the passengers) must 
leave her by the first boat that passed. I was really 
grieved at this ; for our captnin was a most good-natur- 
ed obliging man : it was his first trip since the complete 
refitting of his boat; and if she lay here long with her 
broadside exposed to the huge masses of ice that come 
down the river at this season, she must have gone to 
pieces in a few weeks. 

After a few hours, a small steamer, named " The In- 
dian," hove in sight : we hailed her, and she came along- 


side. Our captain ai^reed to give four hundred dollars 
if she would take some of our freight and tow us off the 
bar : after much lime and trouble, she did so ; and as 
soon as we floated, she went off down the cliannel, ex- 
pecting us to follow immediately : w^e endeavoured to do 
so, but something went wrong in the machinery, and we 
could not make the right course : consequently we drop- 
ped down again upon the bank and became imbedded as 
fast or faster than ever. 

The little " Indian," though out of sight, soon missed 
us and returned ; and, in order to obtain her farther as- 
sistance to get us off, our poor captain was obliged to 
give a thousand instead of four hundred dollars. Not- 
withstanding the united efforts of the passengers and both 
crews, we lay there all tlie next day; but about eight 
o'clock on the 8(h instant, having put all our freight on 
board " The Indian," which was fortunately empty, we 
got off and made good our passage through this difficult 
channel. In the course of the day we found " The [n* 
dian " anchored in the middle of the river, having broken 
her paddles and otherwise injured her machinery : we 
took her in tow and brought her ashore ; for which I 
trust our captain obtained some diminution of the enor- 
mous sum which she had exacted froni him. We reach- 
ed the mouth of the Ohio without farther accident or 
difficulty ; but the machinery was not in perfect order, 
owing to the illness of the engineer, who could not leave 
his bed. 

There are several places on the Mississippi which are 
already increasing rapidly in population and wealth, be- 
tween St. Louis and the mouth of the Ohio ; as for in- 
stance, Herculaneum, thirty-five miles below St. Louis, 
and St. Genevieve, about sixty-five. The view of the 
junction of these tvi^o great rivers is one of the most 
beautiful specimens of fresh-water scenery that ever I 
beheld ; so great is the extent, and so prettily is it in- 
dented w^ith points and promontories covered with noble 
timber. After leaving the Ohio, the first town of any 
importance that we reached was Memphis, in Tennes- 
see ; but we could see nothing of it, owing to the high 
banks which intercept it from the river. 1 am told it is 

Vol. II.-L 


prettily situated. The shores of the Mississippi are very 
monotonous for several iiundred miles, presenting nothing 
but a constant succession of dreary cotton-wood timber, 
"vvhich at liiis season would look miserably gloomy, were 
it not somewhat relieved by the green undergrowth of 
cane, and an occasional log-hut and corn-field. 

On the evening of the Uth* we passed the mouth of 
the Arkansas, the third tributary of the Mississippi in 
point of size : it rises in the Rocky IMouniains, probably 
fifteen hundred or two thousand miles from its junction 
with the great river, where, by the by, it is much nar- 
rower than I expected to see it, as it does not appear to 
me more than four hundred yards broad ; but it was 
nearly dusk when I passed it, so I may be mistaken in 
regard to its width. I had never seen its waters before, 
but I had been within sight of the timber on its banks 
during my excursion among the Pawnees. 

On the 12th instant, we began to find a very percep- 
tible difference, both in the climate and in the vegetation ; 
the chilling breath of winter had not marred the verdure, 
at least the mantle of nature was not rudely lorn off from 
the forest, although its green was changed to varying au- 
tumnal tints of red and brownish hue. The white and 
red oak, which line the banks of the Upper Mississippi, 
had disappeared, and were replaced by the cotton- wood 
and other species of poplar, the sycamore, the several 
kinds of gum, and the cypress ; while in places where 
the banks had obtained greater elevation, the feathering 
outline of the pine towered above the rich and verdant 
foliage of the magnolia. Nor was the change in the 
plants of humble growth less discernible : the fertile al- 
luvium of the valley was now laden with the graceful 
cane, still fresh and green ; and where the hand of man 
had destroyed the natural produce of the soil, large fields 

* I heard tliis day a west-country plirase that was perfectly new to 
me, and from its quaint ness secrns worthy of record. The captain 
went ashore at a wood-yard ; and, on entering the log-hut, the house- 
wife, a woman about thirty-five, seemed to recognize his features (they 
had once lived in the same neighbourhood), and she addressed him thus 
— ♦' Why, you ar'nt Wilson ?" He answered, " No, madam ; my name 
is Fox." She replied (holding out her hand to him in the most friendly 
manner), " Why, F'ox, consarn your old skin! is that you 1" 


of cotton, now ripe for pulling, seemed as if they were 
speckled with innumerable snow-flakes. 

Nor are the houses of the settlers less distinct in their 
character from those of the northern region ; for where- 
as the latter were chiefly composed of rough logs, those 
of the former are built of neat frame-work, frequenily 
painted white, and surrounded by ten, fifteen, or twenty 
negro cabins, according to the size and produce of the 
plantation. I am not aware that I ever experienced so 
strange and pleasurable a sensation through mere change 
of place, as in this descent of the Mississippi in the month 
of " dark December ;" it is as if one had been endowed 
with the power, not only of arresting, but of reversing, 
the march of the year, and of making the soft and balmy 
air of Slimmer succeed the cold and gloom of early 
winter — as if old age had been permitted to renew the 
vigour and freshness of youth, to 

" Forget his years, and act again the boy !" 

On the night of the 12th we reached Vicksburgh, and 
I regretted very much that I no opportunity of visiting 
it. It is a young town, pleasantly situated upon a gentle 
declivity, forming the base of the Walnut Hills, which 
rise above it gradually to the height of five or six hun- 
dred feet, forming one of the prettiest prospects in the 
course of the l^ower Mississippi. This town possesses 
a neat little harbour, whence a quantity of cotton is 
shipped to New Orleans. It obtained considerable no- 
toriety last summer, by becoming the principal scene of 
the outrages committed under the name of Lynch law ; 
of which I gave an account in some remarks which I 
made at Dubuques. 

On the morning of the 13th, we came to the most 
beautiful scene I had beheld since we left St. Louis. 
The place is called Big Black Creek, or Grand Gulf, 
The river here makes a great bend, and runs almost in 
a north-easterly direction ; after which, making its way 
under some bold and wooded heights, it resumes its 
natural southerly course. Just at the corner made by 
this sweep, is situated a neat little village, on a gentle 
declivity toward the water's edge ; on each side of it are 


two smiling valleys, and the undulating hills by which 
they are formed and crowned, were covered wiih gum 
trees, pine, and magnolia. The river here bears the ap- 
pearance of a large inland lake, and reminded me strongly 
of some of the scenes in Cumberland. 

In the evening we reached Natchez ; the view on ap- 
proaching it from the north is very fine, and the bold 
bluffs, on which stands the upper town, were all tinged 
with the golden beams of a selling sun. This place has 
been often described ; and, as it was almost dusk before 
I was able to get ashore, 1 cannot pretend to add much 
to what is well known regarding it. There are two 
towns, Upper and Lower Natchez ; of which the former 
is by far the largest and the most respectable. The 
lower town, containing little more than the buildings 
which necessarily grow up in the neighbourhood of a 
harbour where much shipping business is done, was con- 
sidered, a few years ago, as the most abandoned sink of 
iniquiiy in the whole western country. It was the re- 
sort of the lowest and most profligate wretches of both 
sexes ; and gambling, drinking, robbery, and murder, 
were the daily occupations of its population. But the 
respectable inhabitants of the upper town assembled last 
summer in considerable force, and, under the authority 
of Judge Lynch, and with threats of his summary justice 
(which they doubtless would have fulfilled), compelled 
some hundreds of the most notorious characters to leave 
the place at a few hours' notice. Their memory is not 
yet dead, nor has the lower town, though much improved, 
been able yet to acquire a very respectable name. 

When I landed with my friend V , and inquired 

of a quiet-looking citizen tiie way to the upper town, he 
concluded his directions with an assurance that we might 
go up without any risk of having our throats cut ! With 
this encouraging information we toiled our way up the 
most miserable muddy road that I ever beheld, toward 
the top of the bluffs. Numerous drays were ascending 
and descending, most of which were up to or over the 
axle-tree, in the pure, unadulterated clay, of which the 
road is composed. Has it never struck the merchants of 
Natchez, that in one year they would save as much in 


horse-flesh, as v/oiild pay for ihe expense of an excellent 
pavement ? But in tliese western cities there is no 
combination — no corporate feeling — the universal motto 
is " every man for himself." And it seems as if they 
thought that money, laid out in works of improvement, 
of which others might share with them the convenience 
or the benefit, was thrown away. 

The upper town of Natchez is pleasingly situated 
upon an elevated platform, commanding a fine view of 
the serpentine course of the river ; it contains several 
handsome buildings, and some streets well laid out. The 
inhabitants have had the good taste to leave many rows 
of tr^es standing, which afford an agreeable shade, and 
add to the freshness and cheerfulness of the town pros- 
pect. I saw two large hotels ; the one which I entered 
to lake some refreshment was very clean, and seemed to 
be in the hands of civil obliging people. I passed a 
church, (I believe episcopal,) which seemed, in the 
doubtful light by wdiich I viewed it, to be a neat well- 
proportioned specimen of the Ionic style. There is also 
a very good Doric facade to the Agricultural Bank. The 
Masonic Hall is a spacious building, but cannot pretend 
10 any architectural beauty. Many other buildings may 
be deserving of notice, which I did not see, the night 
closed in soon after my arrival, and I had not even the 
advantage of moonlight. There are many handsome, 
well-supplied shops; but the streets arc in much the 
same condition, in regard to pavement, as those of the 
other western cities : that is to say, if you choose to 
walk after dark, you must depend upon the blue vault 
above, for " Nature's starry lamps," and take your chance 
of spraining yonr ancle, in holes and broken places a 
foot deep, or of stepping up to your knees into a gutter, 
or some equally agieeable receptacle of mud. The 
principle, if not the only, article of trade in Natchez, is 
cotton; and many of the wealthier merchants reside at 
villas, prettily situated on the undulating slopes by which 
the town is surrounded. 

In the course of our evening ramble, we entered the 
theatre, not so much as faithful disciples of Thespis, as 
for the purpose of observing the dress, manners, and ap- 



pearance of the citizens and citizene^^es. The theatre 
is of middle size, and not remarkable for elegance of 
decoration ; the same may be said of the stage and 
scenery. The orchestra was certainly very good, and 
the various interludes played between the acts were se- 
lected with more taste than is usually shown in such 
cases ; for, instead of giving vulgar jigs and " dashing 
"white sergeants," or the opposite extreme of slow pieces 
of music, wanting both introduction and meaning, (and 
generally interrupted by the bell,) they played some very 
graceful and new German waltzes. The ladies in the 
boxes were neatly dressed, without any pretension or 
display of finery : as far as I could judge from costume, 
there were only three or four French women in the 
whole circle. The men were in the usual stocked and 
cloaked attire of Americans in the evening ; the pit was 
filled with noisy merry fellows, and the gallery was in 
the undisputed possession of some dozen swarthy god- 
desses, wearing upon their heads and persons all the 
several colours which nature has denied as ingredients 
in their complexion. The play was the " Fatal Mar- 
riage ; the part of Isabella by a Mrs. Clarke, a fine- 
looking middle-aged woman, with a pleasant voice, 
though not pow^erful enough for tragedy ; she had a good 
figure, and good arms, and her movements were by no 
means ungraceful. She played her dreadful part with 
considerable energy and paihos, and though one or two 
points might have raised a sneer from some of the " sour 
hyper-crixics of a King's Theatre stage-box," I found 
much more in her acting to approve than to condemn. — 
The other characters were feebly supported, and the 
death of Byron was one of the most disgusting scenes 
of stage butchery that I ever beheld. It is indeed pos- 
sible, that all the writhing, contortion of body, and stif- 
fening of joints which were displayed, may be true re- 
presentations of an agonizing death ; but in scenes over 
which good taste and decency always throw a veil, a 
detailed and faithful representation becomes a trans- 

The dresses used on the stage w^ere correct, and even 
splendid. Altogether, there are few country theatres in 


England which would gain much by a comparison with 
that in this small town, which (ii must be remembered) 
was, a few years ago, a wilderness. 

On returning towards the steam-boat, I saw with grief 
two or three Indians completely drunk, roHing in the 
gutter, and affording a butt for the jokes, gibes, and 
even blows of a dozen vagabond negro boys. I believe 
they belonged to the Chickasaw tribe. I know not why 
it is, but there is no human beino (except a woman) that 
affects me wiili such inexpressible pity and disgust, wlien 
under the influence of liquor, as an Indian. 1 know this 
is unphilosophical, because it certainly is a greater dis- 
grace and debasement to a white man ; — still, I then feel 
my pity lost in my disgust ; while, in the case of the In- 
dian, (although I have lived too long among them to be- 
lieve any more tales of their innocence, simplicity, (fee.,) 
my fancy fondly clings to the delusion of that state, 
" When wild in woods the noble savage ran." Thus, 
when I see him grovelHng in the dirt, with a i)e]pless 
body and a reeling brain, and uttering thick and half- 
choked sounds, which no ear near him can understand, I 
cannot help thinking we have done this ! — we, who boast 
of our civilization — we, who pretend to spread abroad the 
refinement of art and science, and the purity of the Gos- 
pel, among the nations — we have reduced the eagle eye, 
the active limb, the stately form of our red brother, to 
the grovelling, swinish animal which I now see before 
me ! Of all the plunderers, thieves, and land-sharks on 
earth, there are none that I more detest, none that will 
hereafter have a heavier charge against them, than those 
settlers and traders in the West (whether British or Ame- 
rican) who cheat the Indians of three hundred per cent, 
in every bargain, by making whiskey the medium of pur- 
chase, knowing, as they well do, that it leads to the de- 
gradation, the misery, and, ere long, the extirpation of 
the ignorant and unfortunate purchasers. 

Leaving Natchez at night, (with much regret that I 
had not imie to stay there a few days,) I went on board 
our steamer, and we ran before morning past the moutlx 
of Red river, one of the largest western tributaries of the 
Mississippi : it rises, I believe, somewhere not far frora 


Santa Fe, and some parts of the valley which it makes 
in its descent are very fertile. The principal town situ- 
ated on its banks is Natchitoches, which is two hundred 
miles from its embouchure. Steam-boats ply thither from 
New Orlearis. 

This day, the 14lh, we came into a summer country 
and cHmate. While the boat stopped to take in fuel, I 
went ashore, and, walking only a few hutidred yards into 
the woods, stood still wiih delighted eye and ear : all was 
fresh and green, the canes in full bloom around me ; 
while a few birds were chirping on the larger trees, and 
the merry woodpecker was knocking his sharp beak 
against the bark of the cotton-tree. Even while writing 
these notes, the door of my stale-room was open, two or 
three flies were buzzing in it, and one mosquiio paid me 
a visit. Before me, as we glided smoothly along, was an 
ever-varying scene of forest beauty, now and then reliev- 
ed by gentle ascents and pleasant valleys, and dotted with 
farm-houses and plantations. The forest was clad in all 
the varied habiliments of summer and autumn, while 
graceful willows adorned the bank, and " bathed their 
leaty tresses in the stream." It occasions a most strange 
sensation, this renewing of ihe year, this finding, in De- 
cember, all the warmth and verdure of the " Gioventu 
del anno^^ and to me it was productive of pleasure of 
the sweetest and gentlest kind. 

As we approached New Orleans, the plantations and 
houses became more thickly crowded, and the river re- 
minded me very much of the Thames below London, 
where the shores of Kent and Essex are low and flat. 
Our boat had received a great addition in mirth, in the 
shape of eighty or a hundred boys returning from Jeff'er- 
son College, which is about a hundred miles above New 
Orleans, to spend the Christmas holidays in or near that 
city. They were most of them Creoles, and it did me 
good 10 hear their light and joyous laughter, after our 
dull and tedious voyage. We reached the southern ca- 
pital of ihe United States without further incident or oc- 
currence worthy of record. 



First Appearance of New Orleans. — Lodgings — Public Buildings. — 
Society. — Theatres. — Creole Ball — Creole Beauty. — Cotton-press- 
ing. — Motley Population. — The Battle Field. — Pont Chartrain. — 
Suburbs of the City. — Leave New Orleans. — Change of Climate. — 
A Polish Jew. — Dangerous Rocks. — The New Year. — Harbour of 
Havana. — Regulations on Landing. — Former and Present State of 
Havana. — Military Force in Cuba. — The Town of Havana. — Public 
Ball. — Spanish Boarding-house. — Beautiful Italian. — An Excursion. 
— V^isit to the Governor. — Performers at the Italian Opera. — The 
Theatre. — The Audience. — Effectual Police System. — The Garrotte. 
— Execution of Culprits. — Streets of Havana. — Idlers. — Manufac- 
ture of Cigars. 

The first appearance of New Orleans is not remark- 
ably striking ; the surrounding country is flat and unin- 
teresting, and the only object which arrests the traveller's 
eye, is ihe forest of masts, such as may be seen in a 
large seaport in any country. On landing, I found great 
difficulty in procuring anything like comfortable lodg- 
ings ; however, having called upon the British consul, 
1 contrived, through his kind assistance, to establish my- 
self in the same boarding-house in which he lived, where 
I got a clean bed, an airy room, (to myself,) a good ta- 
ble, and a very pleasant society, consisting of three or 
four Germans, one or two Creoles, and several English 
or Americans. 

The town is divided into two " quartiers," or sections, 
the French and the American ; the latter occupying iis 
north-western, the former its south-eastern division. 
There are many buildings of considerable extent, and 
some new banks, which are handsome specimens of Gre- 
cian architecture ; still there is nothing worthy of pecu- 
liar notice or mention. In churclies, it is poorer and 
more deficient than any city in America; and, in public 
buildings, it is surpassed by many towns of less extent 
and wealth. The society, like the town, is divided into 
twQ. distinct portions, the American and the Creole, and 


they do not mingle much together ; the former, being 
composed mostly of persons actively and constantly en- 
gaged in making fortunes, have little time for gay etv ; 
and although the younger and fairer portions of their fa- 
milies may amuse themselves with parlies, assemblies, 
balls, &c., as elsewhere, 1 should judge, from what I 
have seen, that the gayest and merriest part of New Or- 
leans is to be found in the Creole society. 

There are three theatres, two American and one 
French ; all respectably decorated, although it is scarcely 
fair yet to judge of the new American theatre, as it is not 
quite finished ; but I had been told to expect a house 
larger than any in London, and as capacious as those of 
Naples and Milan : in this respect the New Orleanists 
deceive themselves and others very much. I know not 
what the comparative dimensions of the ground on which 
they stand may be, but, as regards the interior, it appears 
larger than the Haymarket, and less than either Covent 
Garden or Drury Lane. Madame Celeste, known by the 
Anglo-domestic appellation of " Mrs. Elliot, of Balti- 
more," was drawing very full houses, and astonishing 
the natives with some Parisian pirouettes and pas de 
Zephyr b. 

I soon became acquainted with several polite and 
obliging persons of different countries, and had an oppor- 
tunity of observing, that tiie style of living at New Or- 
leans, though not so expensive as among the wealthier 
merchants of New York and Philadelphia, is very hand- 
some and comfortable. During my stay here I received 
an invitation to a Creole ball, the first of the season. The 
house w^as small, but very neatly furnished ; the music, 
which consisted of a harp, piano, flute, violin, and cla- 
rionet, was performed by amateurs, notwithstanding 
which it was excellent. On entering the room, and cast- 
ing my eyes around me, I stood in admiration at the 
number of pretty faces and figures, and at the correct- 
ness of taste displayed in the dresses of the ladies. 

The general character of Creole beauty is a dark, but 
clear and transparent complexion, black eyes fringed with 
long eyelashes, and finely pencilled eyebrows ; a nose 
neither Greek nor Roman, but delicately formed, and a 


very fine " taille" although apt to run rather early too 
far into the ^' aimahle emborij)ointr In manners the 
Creole ladies are gay, lively, and unaffected, and altoge- 
ther possess as much personal attraction as has fallen to 
the lot, even of the fairest average of the fair creation. 
They all have fine dark hair, and, what is very remark- 
able, they all dress it nearly in the same manner: this 
coiffure is not a la Grec</ue, but of that character, and 
the hair is brought rather forward on the side of the 
cheek ; they seem to pay very great attention to this part 
of the toilette, and I do not remember to have seen hair 
more beautifully clean, fine, and gracefully disposed ; 
nevertheless, I must confess, that I should admire the 
taste of the fair Creoles more, if they arranged it with 
greater variety, according to the respective characters of 
their features. 

Of course, the conversation was carried on in French, 
and the customs of the same nation were observed during 
the evening: according to these, I was privileged to ad- 
dress and to dance with any young lady in company, 
without going through the ceremonial ordeal of introduc- 
tion ; and it is impossible to conceive an assembly con- 
ducted with more agrement, and with less restraint, than 
this Creole coterie. I must also acknowledge, that I had 
seen nothing so like a ball since I left Europe : the con- 
tre-danses were well danced, and there was waltzing 
without swinging, and a galloppade without a romp. 
The supper was exceedingly handsome, and in one re- 
spect superior to most of those given at ball suppers in 
London : namely, the wines were of the same descrip- 
tion which our host would give to his friends at dinner ; 
whereas, in the latter city, it is but too common a prac- 
tice to give inferior wines on such occasions, and to poi- 
son the guests with Wright's champaign, upon the plea, 
that it is good enough for a ball supper. On the whole, 
I went away much pleased with the mirth and agreeable 
manners of Creole society. 

A day or two after my arrival, I went to see the pro- 
cess of pressing the cotton, which is performed by the 
simplest steam-machinery. Some of the establishments 
for this purpose are very extensive, and are capable of 


pressing from five hundred to one thousand bales per 
day. They receive seventy-five cents, or about 35. 6d. 
per bale, the expense of which is borne by the exporting 
ship. It is obvious that the ship-owners can well afford 
this, as they are enabled to take, at least, a third n:iore 
cargo than they could stow away if the bales were un- 

The population passing in the streets, especially on 
"the Levee," and others adjoining the river, is the most 
amusing motley assemblage that can be exhibited by 
any town on earth. The prevailing language seems to 
be that of Babel — Spanish, Portuguese, French, Eng- 
lish, mixed with a few wretched remains of Choctaw, 
and other Indian tribes ; and all these are spoken in the 
loudest, broadest, and strangest dialects, especially in 
the markets. 

As it was my good fortune to visit New Orleans in 
winter, I heard little, and saw nothing of yeilow fever; 
consequently that subject, equally new and delightful, 
will find no place in these pages ; and the land-crabs 
must also submit to the mortification of remainmg un- 
noticed by me : they will probably receive their due 
meed of celebrity at the hands of any traveller who pays 
a summer visit to New Orleans. 

Of course, 1 felt myself bound to go and see the battle- 
field, which is about five miles below the town. Ac- 
cordingly, I hired a horse of a French liveryman, and 
begged him to give me one with some life and spirit. 
He looked me carefully over (I suppose to calculate how 
much battering my bones would bear), and said, " Est- 
ce que tu mantes bien?'^ 1 told him, "tolerably well." 
He forthwith put me upon a half-broken animal, which 
had no describable gait, save a rough, high, slow gallop. 
The only spirit it evinced was, in shying at every trifle 
in the streets — sometime turning round altogether ; and 
I felt heartily glad when I got out of the town, having 
killed no child, and only lamed one pig. 

The field of battle, and all around it, is completely 
level ; on one side of it is the Mississippi, on the other 
swamps and woods : so that, with a simple narration in 
his hand, the most peaceable citizen can understand at a 


glance the locality, and the nature of the contest. Upom 
such a worn-out subject it is unnecessary now to remark 
anything, except, that it reflected the highest honour 
upon the courage of General Jackson and the few raw 
levies under his command, to wait steadily and face a 
regular and well-disciplined body of troops more nu- 
merous than themselves. In respeci to the English, I 
have never heard but one account, namely, that, with few 
exceptions, they supported the murderous fire of their 
secure enemies, and advanced to almost certain death 
with a determined and obstinate bravery, worthy of them- 
selves and their country. With rega'rd to the conduct 
of the commander who placed them in such a position, 
it has been so often and so seveiely commented upon by 
military critics, that it is quite unnecessary for one who 
is no soldier to cast another stone. 

In the neighbourhood of New Orleans, there is a very 
pleasant drive to the head of a long arm of the sea, 
called Pont Chartrain. Tiiis road is made entirely of 
shells, and is as hard and smooth as the best road in Bri- 
tain. It winds along a little creek; and as you pass 
along, with the water on one side, and a variety of rich 
luxuriant shrubs on the other, the scene may ahnost be 
called pretty. Still all around are the monotonous level 
and the dismal swamp; and I sincerely hope I may 
never view its summer beauties. I passed three negro 
hunters, tramping through the mud and bushes after ra- 
coons. They had killed three, of which tlie gentleman 
who was driving me bought one, and carried it off in the 

The suburbs of the city present a melancholy contrast 
to those at New York, Baltimore, and other great Ame- 
rican towns. Many houses are shut up, some falling 
down, weeds choking the gardens, and stray pigs and 
mules walking at pleasure through the broken pahngs. 
At the American end there is more bustle, activity, and 
improvement. It is difficult to predict whether New 
Orleans will ever greatly extend its wealth and com- 
merce. It is true, that the great valley of the Missis- 
sippi is daily increasing its enormous produce; still the 
canals and railroads running eastward, will, doubtless, 

Vol. II.— M 


become an important and secure medium of transporta- 

I left New Orleans on the 29th of December, on board 
the brig " Rolla," a neat little craft of about one hundred 
and fifiy tons. Having had the good fortune to collect 
a party of acquaintances, consisting of six persons, we 
took the whole cabin to ourselves, and had before us 
every prospect of a speedy and pleasant voyage. We 
■were towed down to the Balize, near the mouth of the 
Mississippi, about one hundred miles below New Or- 
leans, where the steam-boat left us to our fate, and to 
the mercy of the winds. Although the scenery around 
these last hundred miles of the course of the Father of 
rivers, is Jow, swampy, and dismal in the extreme, I 
could not leave him withotit a sigh. I had spent so 
many days and weeks upon his broad noble bosom — I 
had rambled so long upon his swelling and forest-shaded 
banks — 1 had seen the youth, the manhood, and the ter- 
mination of his gigantic course — his face had been so 
long familiar to me — that I could not part with him w-ilh- 
out many interesting recollections, mingled with regret. 
However, it is the iate of the traveller to break all the 
gentle local chains that would delay him in his course; 
and he must get hardened to it, and bear it either with 
indifference, or forced resignation, according to the com- 
position of his character. Once more I was on the free 
and boundless sea ; old Ocean smiled upon me with the 
reflected beams of a brilliant sun, and seemed disposed 
to make me some amends for the rough and uncourteous 
manner in which he had treated me in 181:54. 

Oh, what a change of climate from that which we had 
left at St. Louis and Prairie du Chien ! We now sat 
without a coat on the deck, and were not sorry lo avail 
ourselves of the shade of the main or the try sail. We 
"whiled our time listlessly away, in readmg, or in drink- 
ing some light, of which we had taken a 
small stock on board. I provided myself with a Spanish 
grammar, and set resolutely to work, in order that I 
might understand something, and be somewhat under- 
stood in Havana, and lay the foundation for making ac- 


quainlance with Garcilasso, Calderone, and the Shak- 
peare of the world of prose, Cervantes. 

We had on board an old man, whom Walter Scott 
must have seen before he drew his Isaac of York. He 
was a Polish Jew of about seventy years of age, with a 
beard as long, thick, and strong as a wild prairie horse's 
mane ; he wore a liltle round cap on his head, and his 
person was enveh^ped in a black gabardine. He spoke 
no English, but tolerably good German ; in addition to 
which, and to his own Slavonic mother tongue, he jab- 
bered a little wretched French. When I first came on 
board, I saw him standing by the booby hatch, wring- 
ing his hands, crying and whining in all the agony of 
Shylock's, " O my ducats ! — O my daughter !" The 
sailors could not understand his grief or the cause of it, 
and were laughing at his strange appearance and ges- 
ticulations. As I heard that he was howling in German, 
I asked him (in that language) what was the matter ; and 
I shall not soon forget the ludicrously piteous expres- 
sions vvhich he poured forth. The old man wao leaning 
over a wooden tiunk contammg all his goods and chat- 
tels, of which he had accidentally dropped the key down 
the hatchway among the packages in the hold, and his 
miseries were depicted in the following pathetic strain : 
— " O heavens !" said he, " 1 have lost my key ! — my 
bread, my onions, my vinegar — my all is locked in this 
trunk, and I can get at nothing ; and these d — d rascals 
and vagabonds, the sailors, keep laughing at me." I told 
him very gravely that we could easily break the trunk 
open ; and oh ! the grin of horror with which he re- 
ceived the proposition ! his beard vibrated from root to 
point as he told me he would rather starve ! I am hap- 
py to say that we found his key on the following morn- 
ing, and he revelled luxuriously on his bread, onions, and 
vinegar. He was a complete old rogue, and afforded 
much amusement on the voyage, especially to me, and 
a German friend of mine, because we could hear him, 
whenever he was offended, abusing the sailors in every 
execrative term which that rich language contains, while 
the tars onl) grinned the more, in total ignorance of ths 
nature of his harangue. 


For two days and a half the breeze continued fair but 
light, ar;d we caught sight of the distant heights on the 
north-west coast of Cuba. We had passed considerably 
to the westward of the well-known and dangerous rocks 
called the Tortugas, where so many hundred thousand 
dollars and so many brave fellows have been lost, but 
which are now less disastrous in consequence of the 
light-house which has been placed on one of them. 
They are, nevertheless, still perilous to a navigator un- 
acquamred with these seas, as the currents among and 
around them^ are so various, so rapid, and so irresistibly 
strong, that the greatest care must be observed, in order 
10 prevent being carried away by them. Our brig was 
too light in the water by twelve or fifteen inches ; so that, 
when we fell in with the easterly trade-wind, we made 
but feeble attempts to beat to windward. This was 
tiresome : however, on the 1st of January, we determin- 
ed to be merrv, and consequently we were so ; we passed 
around ihe " many happy returns," according to goud old 
CUStuin , ctiid uuj dear absent friends were, " in our flow- 
ing CUps, freshly remembered." 

How strange it seems, that when another year is added 
to the bygone portion of our brief span — when the 
thoughts and the deeds of another year swell the heavy 
catalogue of our responsibilities — when the departed year 
has borne with it, perhaps by the mercy of Providence, 
not many whom we loved, certainly many among whom 
we have lived and moved — in short, when Nature's cur- 
few wouLI seem to toll the knell of an important portion 
of life — how strange it is that we choose this very sea- 
son for an outpouring of gayety and mirth ! Still it is a 
blessed dispensation, ihat we are able thus to turn our 
eyes v;iih hope to the new-born year — to hail its dawn 
— to gladden our spirits with its promises, and to dismiss 
from our breast any forebodings of the perils and the 
sorrows that lie hidden in its dark, and, alas ! loo fruit- 
ful womb. 

But to return to Cuba, or rather to the head wind 
which kept us from reaching it. The brig was so light 
that she could not beat to windward ; and had it not been 
for the current which set in strong toward the east, we 


could have made no progress. However, after three or 
four days of tedious tacking, we succeeded in making ihe 
harbour of Havana. The navigation of this coast is ren- 
dered somewhat difficult by the extraordinary variety of 
opposing forces : the current runs from west to east, the 
trade wmd blows from east to west; and from ten at 
night till eight in the morning, there seems to be a pretty- 
steady breeze off the island, which is by no means fa- 
vourable to a ship approaching it. The harbour is deep, 
extensive, and extremely well protected from every wind 
except a northern ; the entrance to it is very narrow, and 
guarded by a strong fortress and battery, called the Mo- 
10, and a ship, on entering the harbour, is obliged to pass 
close under its rocky and threatening sides ; as you ad- 
vance, you are liable to be raked by two or three other 
batteries. Upon the whole, it appeared to me that it 
would be a matter of extreme difficulty for a hostile 
squadron to force an entrance ; and, as a Spaniard re- 
marked to me, *' of much greater to effect an exit." 

The Havana, originally founded by Diego Velasquez, 
in 1515, is a walled town, protected on the land side by- 
several fortified heights, which 1 may notice more par- 
ticularly hereafter. The impression of a stranger, on his 
first arrival, certainly is, that it must be a very strong 
place. The regulations on landing are very strict ; pass- 
ports must be sent into the governor, and no person can 
leave the ship till his " permit " is obtained and sent on 
board. I scarcely understand how a man arriving here 
quite unknown and without a friend, could even disem- 
bark himself or his goods ; as it is necessary, after the 
passport is sent in, for some resident in the town to 
apply in person for the permit, and give bail for the con- 
duct of, the new-comer during his stay. However, no 
one can find fault with these apparent restrictions, as they 
form part of the system of discipline introduced by go- 
vernor Tacon, which has wrought an extraordinary 
change in the state of the island. 

A few years ago, brawls, robberies, and murders were 

of daily occurrence in the streets of Havana : life and 

properly were insecure, even in broad daylight, and after 

dark no peaceable citizen would dare to stir abroad ; 



the town swarmed with gamblers and desperadoes, 
while bands of robbers and plunderers infested the inte- 
rior of the country. Immediately on his appointment, 
governor Tacon delermmed to work a total change in 
this state of things. He made no distinction of ranker 
station, but began b3^dismissing and imprisoning one of his 
principal officers for peculation ; he then drove out all 
the gamblers, and made a complete clearance of the ruf- 
fian bands in the town and country. He established a 
very strict system of police, civil and military ; forbade 
the use, or even the wearing of pistols, swordsticUs, or 
dirks ; and every part of Havana was, at the lime of my 
stay there, as safe a promenade at ten at night as St. 
James' street. 

The military force in Cuba is greater than I could 
have imagined, considering the state of its mother 
country : indeed, I very much doubt whether the Queen 
could bring into the field as large a body of troops in 
Spain, as her powerful deputy commanded in Cuba. As 
far as J am able to collect, he had nearly twenty-five 
thousand regular troops and forty thousand militia.* 
This large military establishment is doubtless requisite : 
the negroes form, probably three-fifths of the population, 
and are a much more active, strong, muscular race of 
men than are now found in the coloured inhabitants of 
the United States. There are great and constant impor- 
tations from Africa, which Spain (in defiance of all pro- 
mises, treaties, and the several hundred thousand ster- 
ling, paid to her by a well-meaning but Quixotic person- 
age, called .John Bull) still connives at.f 

The entrance into the town from the water is veiy 
striking : the stranger, after passing through one small 
street, comes upon the square called the Plaza de las 
Armas ; one side of it is occupied by the governor's 

* In regard to the organization of the militia, I could obtain no cer- 
tain information ; by the best accounts, however, although numerous, 
it is not trained or exeicised. It consists chiefly cf the " monteros,'* 
literally " huntsmen ;" but the name is here given to all the small coun- 
try proprietors and farmers of Spanish blood. 

t By the treaty of 1817, which was to take effect in 1820, England 
agreed to pay to Spain 400,000^ sterling, as an indemnification for the 
loss arising from the abolition of the slave trade. 

HOUSES. 139 

house, ihe other by the intendanl's, or the financial minis- 
ter. Neither of these edifices possesses any claina to ad- 
miration on the ground of architectural naerir. ; but both 
are handsome as to size, and an appearance of age and 
solidiry. The interior of the square is laid out as a 
shrubbery, protected by iron railings ; and the public 
walks which surround and intersect it are paved. In 
the centre is a marble statue of Ferdinand VII, brought, 
I believe, from Rome. Three times every week tl)e mi- 
litary band plays in the evening in this square, and then 
it is the resort of most of the beauty and idleness in the 
city. The ladies appear in their '* volantes,"* in evening 
dress, and their heads unprotected by a hat or a kerchief 
(even on the 9th of January) ; others sit in the inner area; 
and the men parade around, either chatting with their 
fair acquaintance, or indolently smoking their Dos Ami- 
gos or Carbanos. The mihtary band is tolerable good ; 
and under the influence of a cool evening breeze and a 
briglit moon, produces a very pleasing effect. 

The streets of Havana are regular; any house or 
square is easily found, although the buildings are quaint 
and irregular in their style of architecture ; and many of 
them have large balconies of carved wood, which are 
handsome from their grotesque and massive character. 
Most of the large houses are built round a court, in the 
interior of which are galleries which afford constant 
shelter from the sun, and many families dine in them. 

* This word is, I believe, peculiar to Cuba, and ia unknown in this 
sense in Old Spain. For the information of the uninstructed, I should 
explain that a volante is something like a large cabriolet (though a strict 
etymologist from Brighton would designate it a^fiy) It is an easy kind 
of carriage, swung entirely before the axletree ; it has two wheels, 
■which are extremely high and wide, and is generally drawn by one 
horse in shafts, which, moreover carries a negro (called a calesero), and 
his boots, which latter come above his knees : I have sometimes ex- 
pected to see the little wearer subside into them altogether. These car- 
riages are very safe and convenient, except for two classes — the horses 
which draw them and the foot-passengers." In respect to these latter, 
they are considerably annoyed when two of these broad vehicles pass 
one another in the narrow streets, and the black postilions rattle their 
high wheels over the foot-pavement without scruple or mercy, in re- 
spect to the horses, I am completely puzzled how they contrive to draw 
the machine at all : they are but small animals, and are harnessed at 
least two yards farther than necessary from their ponderous load. 


You enter by a large archway, under which the " volante" 
is usually placed, the stable being at the back of the 
court. What strikes a foreigner most is, the extreme 
publicity here of domestic life : windows are unknown, 
at least the place of glass is supplied by bars, through 
which you can disiinctly see the inmates, their occupa- 
tions, furniture, &c., from the street, especially after 
night-fall, when the rooms are lighted, and the young 
lady touches her piano, or wreathes her smiles for the 
benefit of every passenger. The style of furniture is 
generally showy and handsome, partaking somewhat of 
the character of the French meiibles made a century 

Soon after my arrival I had an opportunity of seeing a 
public ball at a garden called Tivoli, about a mile from 
the town : it is the Vauxhall of Havana, of small extent, 
but agreeably situated ; it was very numerously attended 
by the families of respectable merchants and tradesmen, 
but not by the arislrocracy. Everything was conducted 
with the greatest propriety and decorum. The dancing- 
fioor was shaded by a roof supported by pillars, some of 
which were the natural trunks of trees, and lighted by 
very pretty chandeliers. The prevailing dance is a kind 
of union of the waltz and the English country-dance ; 
extremely dull and slow — more stupid, if possible, than 
a French quadrille in England. The only change from 
this dance was to the common waltz, uhich was perform- 
ed with a deliberation suitable to the climate, as the 
thermometer, from the 5th to the 9th of January, averaged 
75° Fahrenheit, in the shade, and the sun was intensely 
hot ; but all the people in the town told me it was ex- 
tremely cool and pleasant ! Of course I was obliged to 
perspire, and be silent. I confess I was much disap- 
pointed not to see one pretty girl, or handsome woman, 
in this assemblage ; altliough there were a few pleasing 
and expressive countenances. Many of the ladies dress- 
ed and moved with considerable grace. 

Being anxious to acquire the language, I left my 
companions, and took up my lodgings in a sort of 
Spanish boarditighouse, kept hy one Don Juan Gonza- 
lez. Among the lodgers, already in the house, I found 


an English gentleman, who had been fifteen years in 
Spain and Cuba, and thiee of the Italian Opera conri- 
pany, one of whom was a very pretty pleasing woman, 
with a very delightful pronunciation of her own beautiful 
language, and a pair of large, dark gray, expressive eyes, 
which had within a year subdued her present husband, 
and which threatened to keep me awake at least half an 
hour after I retired, for the first time, to my new bed- 

Having now begun to speak a few words of Spanish, 
my stock of which I was very anxious to increase, I found 
my brain altogether confused by the admixture of Italian 
spoken at breakfast and dinner : whenever I did not know 
a Spanish word I spoke an Italian one, two or three 
other guests did the same, and the conversaiion was 
carried on in the most beautiful matrimony of these two 
cognate tongues that ever was heard. I wish any gram- 
matical purist of either country could have heard us ; it 
would have driven him mad : e. g. " Segnor, haga me, 
V m il favor dp. rlar me. nn poco di questo platO ! Mu- 
chacho, da me qualche cosa da bebere !" &c. 

On a succeeding evening, I availed myself of an op- 
portunity, presented by the politeness of an English gen- 
tleman resident here, to visit a very pretty garden in ihe 
neighbourhood, which used to belong to the bishop , but 
has been since purchased by a nobleman, who siill per- 
mits strangers to walk in its agreeable shades. We set 
off in a volante drawn by two horses ; our postilion was 
a most frisky negro-boy, who made the little nags go 
over the rough and stony roads at a surprising rate. We 
went out of the gates to the westward ; and leaving on 
our right one of the fortified heights to which I before 
alluded, called Castello del Principe, immediately at the 
back of the governor's villa, we turned down a by-road 
to the bishop's garden. Here I saw dame Nature in a 
dress totally new to me, and a very beautiful costume 
she wore. Orange trees, limes, bananas, &c., J had 
already seen in profusion at Fayal ; but the vast varieties 
of pines and cypress, the palms, the cocoa trees, the al 
mond, and many others, I saw for the first time. The 
plantain is cultivated to a great extent, and is an excellent 


vegetable when well cooked ; there are two or three dif* 
ferenl ways of dressing it — the decision on their com- 
parative merits J leave to better-qualified judges. The 
garden is very prettily laid out ; the roses were in full 
bloom, as I suppose they always are in this climate ; and 
the soft breeze of the evening bowed the feathery and 
graceful branches, and leaves, of the palm and cocoa. 
There are several little arrangements indicative of the 
tasie of the owner ; accordingly, we observed a small arti- 
ficial piece of water, an encloaure filled with tame rabbits, 
while a bear growled from one cage, and a bald eagle 
screamed from another ; and while looking at this curious 
animal and vegetable medley, a little grinning negro-boy 
came, and, dropping on one knee, presented me a nose- 
gay, saying, with a whine of ludicrous melancholy, "Ah ! 
seiior, quiere usied estas rosas ? Ah ! seiior, da me un 
medio."* 1 took the bouquet, gave the liule urchin his 
sixpence, and he went oflf, expressing a hope (doubtless, 
more sincere than disinterested) that I would revisit the 
garden. It was gfrowing- too late for mpi to be ablp. to 
distinguish many of the smaller varieties of flowers ; ac- 
cordingly, I was obliged to defer that pleasure for another 
day ; and, jumping into the volante, was, in half an hour, 
safely deposited in the city. 

Soon after my arrival I was presented to the governor 
by the British consul. The interior of his residence cor- 
responds with what I have before remarked of its ex- 
terior ; it is large, cool, and convenient, without any pre- 
tensions to architectural beauty ; but 1 was not able, on 
this visit of ceremony, to see more than two or three of 
the apartments. The governor received me with much 
courtesy, and the conversation was carried on in Spanish, 
although he understood French perfectly well. He told 
me that, as I was learning the former language, I must 
practise it constantly, and speak nothing else. Although 
this arrangement confined me to the very fev/ phrases 
which I knew, and rendered me almost a mute upon 
many topics, he did it so good-humoufcdly, that I went 

* Medio, short for medio real, is a half-real. One real is equal to a 
hii, in the United States, or nearly sixpence sterling. 


on boldly murdering her Catholic Majesty's Spanish 
without fear or hesitation. 

In person the governor is below the middle size ; and 
his countenance, ihough not striking, is indicative of the 
calm firmness which distinguishes his character. He is 
courteous without formality, and his manners are digni- 
fied without haughtiness or reserve. As brevity is the 
essence of a ceremonial visit, and his time is extremely 
occupied, I prepared, in five minutes, to take my leave ; 
before I did so, he very kindly offered me a seat in his 
box at the opera, which was given for the first lime on the 
same evening, and desired me to make use of it ai my 
pleasure, during my stay. Of course I availed myself 
of this invitation, which was the more agreeable, as the 
house was extremely crowded. 

The company of performers, which had lately arrived 
from Italy, was very numerous, and contained much 
vocal and instrumental talent ; among the former was a 
sister of the celebrated Malibran ; but owing to indispo- 
sition, she did not sing this evening. The opera was 
Romeo e Giulietta : the contralto and soprano parts were 
very well sustained by Signoras Pantinelli and Rossi ; 
the rest were feeble performers. The orchestra was good, 
and was led by one of the best violins that I have heard 
since Paganini's notes " crept in my ears." I am not very 
partial to this production of the highly-talented young 
composer ; one great fault appears to me, that the first 
act is by far the best. 

The house is spacious and extremely high; the decora- 
tions are neat and in good taste ; but the exterior of the 
building is the most villainous ugly barn that ever was 
seen or imagined ; the pit is all divided into arm-chair 
seats, called here '* lunelas," as in England "stalls;" and 
almost all the boxes in the first and second tiers are 
private. The assemblage of fair spectators was very 
respectable, both in regard to dress and beauty; a few of 
the first families on the island were present, but a great 
proportion of them were at this season on their country 
estates, superintending the making of sugar, &c. 

From those who were in town I received many and 
great civilities : horses and volantes were offered to me 


every dvay, and invitations to the country houses of their 
relations, of which 1 proposed ere long to avail myself. 
My hrst introduction lo them 1 owed to the kindness of 
the gentlemen resident here, on the conjmission for carry- 
ing into effect the provisions of ihe Anglo-Spanish slave- 
treaty, and to that of one or two English residents. 

At this time the police system of the present governor 
had been so effectual, that robberies in the town were 
almost unheard of; however, one had been lately com- 
mitted in open day, by a negro, aided by a mulatto, 
and ihe culprits had been detected. The former was 
condemned to death, the latter to two hundred lashes and 
ten years' labour in the galleys. The sentence was carried 
into execution shortly after, in the following manner : — 
The negro was taken to the scaffold early in the morn- 
ing, and placed in a kind of arm-chair, to the legs and 
arms of which his hands and feet were firmly bound ; a 
priest attended to perform the last offices of religion ; 
and as soon as these w^ere terminated, at a given signal, 
a kind of tourniquet was applied lo an iron collar fasten- 
ed round the criminal's neck, and in a minute he ceased 
to exist. This machine is called by the Spaniards a 
"garrote," (Fr. garr(jt), and is possessed of immense 
force and certainty. It appears to me one of the best con- 
trivances for capital punishments imaginable ; and is free 
from the sanguinary accompaniments of the axe, as well 
as from the possibility of protracted suffering, but loo 
well-known in executions by hanging. After death, tlie 
body of the criminal was left till two or three in the after- 
noon, in terrorem, when it was claimed and buried by 
the monks, on wliom that duty devolves. 

The mulatto culprit was paraded backwards on a mule 
through all the streets, (also in terror t-niy) and received 
his two hundred lashes at different intervals, so many at 
each appointed place. I saw him in the course of his 
progress: though a very dark man, his lips were of pale 
blue, from shame and fear ; and the guard which accom- 
panied him w^as followed by avast concourse of negroes, 
idlers, &c. I believe his punishment, and the method 
of inflicting it, to be extremely well calculated lo pro- 
duce its intended effect in a population such as that of 


Although the style of the houses in Havana is irregu- 
lar, that of the streets is not so, and a stranger finds his 
way about the town with the greatest ease : in fact, the 
portion within the walls is not more, if it is so much, as 
that which may be called suburban. The walh-d town 
is in form nearly oval, of wliich the point of land pro- 
tected by the guns of the Moro, and other batteries, 
forins the northern apex, the curve of the bay and the 
walls forming the sides. The pavement is generally very- 
bad, but during my stay a great number of vagabonds, 
and condemned blacks, &c., were employed in M'Adam- 
izing many of the streets in the town. 

There are more idle people in Havana than I ever saw 
in any place of the same size : there seem to be hun- 
dreds of respectably dressed persons who have nothing 
else to do than to smoke cigars, and play at dominoes or 
billiards. There is a very large cafe, called the Longa, 
(or the Exchange,) where are half-a-dozen billiard-ta- 
bles, and as many for dominoes, and these seem sur- 
rounded by players and expectants from morning till 
night. Anolhei thing strikes a British traveller's eye as 
singular and amusing, namely, that most of the shops 
have a sign, or a nora de guerre, placed over the door, 
which has not the least reference to the character of the 
articles sold therein : for instance, he will see " Modesty" 
—"Truth"— "The Fair Nymph"— " Patience," &c., 
over a grog-shop ; " The Sportsman," the " Indian War- 
rior," &c , over a silk or riband warehouse, and many 
similar incongruities. 

I must now come to one of the most important sub- 
jects which Havana presents to ciphilosoj^hical foreigner ; 
namely, the manufacture of cigars. In spite of the great 
increase of their consumption in England, it is surprising 
how little is known about them, and what errors prevail 
regarding them. It is generally believed that one has 
nothing else to do than to go to Havana, and that the 
best cigars can be found in every quarter : this is a great 
mistake, and I have no hesitation in saying, that those of 
the English gentry who can afford to pay a good price 
to the best dealers in London and Liverpool, smoke bel- 
ter cigars than the average of the inhabitants of this city. 

Vol. H.— N 


The reason is sufficiently obvious ; the dennand is so 
great, that no manufacturer can keep a slock by him ; 
they are sold as soon as made, and are generally smoked 
quiie green and raw, whereas, they should be made at 
least two or three months before ihey are used. How- 
ever, I do not think that the very finest qualities go lo 
Europe, and for the very simple reason, that they are not 
fashionable : they are generally dark coloured, and the 
public in the old world prefers a lighter coloured, smoothly 
rolled cigar, to the strong and highly flavoured rough 
looking ones, which are most held in estimation among 
the Havanese. Indeed, some of the best which I ever 
tasted in my life, were given me by an English genile- 
man, who had sent them lo a friend in Liverpool, and 
they were returned, as being too coarse and ugly ! The 
voyage twice across the Atlantic had ripened them, and 
they were the most perfect vade-mecum imaginable for 
the meditative nljilosopher. 

The greatest manufacturers are Cabanos, Hernandez^ 
(know^n to the smoking world under the iiom de guerre 
of Dos Amigos,) Silva, and Rencureuil, who exports 
chiefly to Holland and France : but besides these, there 
are hundreds of manufacturers who make from ten to one 
thousand per day. The cigar is composed of two dis- 
tinct pans, called here the " iripas," or " inside," and the 
" capa," or "cover;" for these, two different kinds of 
leaves are used, of which the latter is generally finer in 
texture, as well as more pliant. Those leaves which 
are to be made upon Tuesday, are damped on Monday 
evening, and allowed to remain so all night, and when 
rolled, they are placed on a large table, where they are 
divided into the various qualities of first, second, third, 
&c., and priced accordingly. Those which are most 
carefully and beautifully rolled are called "regalias," and 
are sold at twenty-two, twenly-three, or twenty^-six dol- 
lar*^ a thousand, while the second best, which are of the 
very same tobacco, and made by the same man, (only 
with a little less attention to symmetry of form,) are sold 
at fourteen dollars ; others again at twelve dollars, and 
some as low as six dollars ; these last do not find their way 
to England, as the duty would amount to more than the 


prime cost. D. Hernandez (Dos Annigos) employs about 
fifty men in his maniifaclory. Of the best common ci- 
gars a good workman can make a thousand in a day ; of 
the regahas, six hundred; so that the daily issues from 
this immense fabrica are about thirty thousand cigars, 
which, at fourteen dollars per thousand, would give 
nearly £iOO a day. They pay an export duty of half a 
dollar per thousand, and an import in England of nine 
shillings. Allowing for freight and insurance, twenty per 
cent, profit to the importer, and twenty more to the re- 
tailer, the best Havana cigars should be sold in London 
at £o per thousand, which is 1 86-. per lb., or about I l-4c?. 
a-piece, instead of which they are generally charged 305. 
to 405., and sometimes 60^. per lb., and from 2d. to Qd. 

The best tobacco in the island is grown in the Vuelta 
Abaja, or lower district, to the west of Havana, betweea 
that capital and Puerto del Principe, 


Tour in the Country.— Our Cortege.— The Road.— Aspect of the Ooun-. 
try. — Changes of Soil — Equipment of Equestrian Farmers. — Singu-. 
lar Mode ofTravelling.— Arrival at our Journey's End. — Don Dio- 
nysio Mantilla's House and Sutrar Plantation. —Preparation of Sa- 
gar.— Distillation of Brandy from Molasses.— Village of Marielli.— . 
Fine Prospect. — Friendly Reception.— Aquatic Excursion. — District 

of St. Marc's. — Mr. C 's Plantation.— His Hospitality — Coffee 

Plantation. — Tenure of Property in Cuba. — Return to Havana. — 
Another Excursion,— Family of Montalvo — Strange Inconsistencies. 

A Cuban Dinner. — The Dessert. — liambles in the Nfighbourhood 

of San lirnacio. — Journey to Matanzas. — A pretty Village.— Speci- 
mens of Spanish Beauty. — Rustic Ball. — Arrival at Matanzas. — My 
Host. — Cure for Fever. 

On the 19lh of January, I availed myself of an opporr 
tunity offered by the politeness of some of my Havana 
friends, to make a short tour in the country to see some 
coffee and sugar plantations. I started at five in the 
morning, accompanied by a Spanish gentleman, who 
had many acquaintances in the district which I proposed 


to visit. Our corlege is worthy of record : it consisted 
of a volante, to which three mules were attached, one in 
the shafts, arid two outriggers, on the left one of which 
sat our calesero, a negro of considerable size, but so 
strangely dressed that he seemed all boots and hat. My 
servant rode behind the carriage on a gray rosinante, 
and a negro perched on two huge packages placed across 
a mule brought up the rear, and acted there the some- 
what incongruous part of guide. 

Our place of desiination (which lay to the west of 
Havana), was a plantation near St. Marc*s, belonging 
to a gentleman named Don Dionysio Mantilla, who, ac- 
cording to the very liberal customs of Cuban hospitality, 
furnished the guide, the volante, and the mules or horses 
requisite for bringing us to his house. The road for the 
first two leagues was tolerably good ; about that distance 
from Havana we passed the reservoir, which, through 
the medium of an aqueduct, supplies that city with wa- 
ter. We also passed the line of a railroad, leading to- 
ward the interior ; for the construction of which the 
labour is chiefly furnished by four or five hundred Irish, 
then lately arrived ; and the iron was imported, not from 
Britain, but from the United States. 

I soon began to experience a practical verification of 
the accounts which 1 had received of the roads through 
the island ; but I was obliged to be much consoled by 
the assurance that I was pas>sing over them at the very 
best season of the year, and that few were as good as 
the one over which I was then bumping. Under these 
circumstances, of course, I viewed with proper indif- 
ference the stones of half-a-yard high, and the ruts of 
half-a-yard deep, through which tlie mules and the 
wheels were scrambling, and which afi'orded the best 
illustration possible of the old proverb of " out of the 
frying-pan into the fire." 

The country through which we passed was extremely 
interesting to me from its novelty, especially as I remem- 
bered that it was now the very depth of winter. Fields 
of maize and plantain were stretched all around, inter- 
spersed with pahns, cocoa, mango, guayava. and a hun- 
vired other varieties of trees, most of them fructiferous ; 


the hedges were speckled with flowers of the most bril- 
hant hues, and even the paHngs which fenced the fields 
contributed to the beauty of the scene, as thoy wera 
mostly made of living poles, bound together by ihongs 
of baik, and placed very near each oiher: these are 
made of a wood called " almasigo,"* and whenever it is 
cut and thrust into the earth it takes root and sprouts, 
forming thus a verdant fence, through which neither a 
Scotch schoolboy nor an Irish-educated cow could gain 
admii lance to the fruits which it guarded. 

The changes of soil were also strikingly numerous. 
On first leaving Havana, it was light both in quahty and 
colour; after passing the reservoir, it became more and 
more red, till at last it was like a field of dark brick- 
dust; then again, on the hills, it was silicions, and soon 
after the stratification of lime under the form of coral 
became evident. 

We passed a great many huge unwieldy wagons, 
drawn each by three yoke of oxen, and about a dozen 
farmers mounted on the indefatigable little horses pe- 
culiar to ihe island : the riders were armed with a pair 
of pistols in holsters, a long sword, an enornnous pair of 
spurs, and a formidable whip made of twisted leather 
and heavily butted with silver ; moreover, they sat upon 
a sort of cushion-saddle, from which depended two large 
canvass-bags, full of I know not what, and from each 
of these again, about a score of miserable fowls were 
hung by the legs, cackling their death-song, on the road 
to market !* At a tavern five leagues from the city, we 
found a relay of mules, also provided by our host; and 
having with some difficulty persuaded them to start, we 
recommenced our journey. I had here to make a re- 
mark similar to that which had occurred to me once or 
tv/ice in America, and which, however strange it may 
sound, is indubitably tiue in many parts of both coun- 
tries ; namely, that the farther you can get from the road 

* The hedges are sometimes of almasigo, which is a red-looking 
wood, but they are more commonly made of pifion, which rather re- 
sembles a young poplar than a willow, and is the tree to which I al- 
lude above. 

* The farmers here described are the Monteros, before alluded to. . 



in travelling, the better for you. I believe it is a local 
law in Cuba, that a proprietor must either keep the pub- 
lic road running by or through his plantation in passable 
order (English, not French, passable), or he must allow 
the traveller to find the best of his way through his fields. 
The latter plan is almost invariably preferred; so that 
when you find in the road an obstacle too deep, or too 
high to be surmounted (which is of very frequent occur- 
rence), you desire your calesero to dismount and to take 
his observations ; having done w^iich, he begins delibe- 
rately to pull down a wall, and as soon as he has eflfect- 
ed a breach large enough to admit his muly trio and the 
volante, he drives coolly into the field, pursues his jour- 
ney, and of course pulls down all the fences that obstruct 
his subsequent progress. It is natural to suppose that 
these proceedings sometimes lead to an exchange of in- 
civilities between the wayfaring man and the owner ; but 
the latter does not put a rifle to his shoulder and shoot 
the former, as he most probably would do under similar 
circumstances in the western slates of America. If the 
Cuban farmers had the wit or the industry to add to their 
fence a small ditch, cither the roads in the island must 
be improved, or the inhabitants must give up travelling 
otherwise than on horseback. 

After a pleasant peristaltic drive of three or four hours, 
we reached Don Dionysio Mantilla's plantation. The 
house was a neat square building, in the cottage style, 
and on the front, and at one side was a small garden-plot 
of flowers, wearing in this delightful winter the holiday 
costume of an European summer. The comforts and 
decorations of the interior, bore witness to the advantage 
derived by our host from European travel. Opposite to 
the front of the house, and at a little distance from it, 
was an extensive range of buildings, containing all the 
apparatus required in the various processes of sugar 
making, and now echoing to the cries and shouts with 
which the negro men and boys accompany and cheer 
their labour. 

In the course of the day I went all over the establish- 
ment ; and although the subject is probably familiar to 
many readers, I will give a short and si^nple description 


of it, because ibe plantation from which I took il is nriore 
than usually neat and compendious in its arrangement. 

Under an immense shed, around which are piled large 
heaps of sugar-cane, are two mills, each turned by six 
pair of oxen (the black urchins who sit upon the arms of 
the machine to drive them, keeping up an endless cla- 
mour.) This portion of the operation is frequently, and 
more advantageously performed by steam By each of 
these mills three large cylinders or rollers are made to 
revolve, a very small space being left between them ; 
two or three negroes supply them constantly with cane, 
which they instantly crush and express all the juice, 
while other men or boys remove the torn and broken re- 
mains of the cane. From these rollers two pipes con- 
duct the saccharine liquid irito large receiving vats, where 
it undergoes several processes of boiling; during which 
the scum and refuse rising to the top is removed by ne- 
groes armed with large flat ladles. When sufficiently 
purified by this process, it is filtered through bags of 
woollen texture,* and afterwards placed in large vases 
formed like a flower-pot, where it is mixed with a pecu- 
liar kind of clay, which contains, among other ingredi- 
ents, some lime. These vases are placed in holes ar- 
ranged in great mimbers along the floor of a kind of barn, 
below which a number of inclined pipes conduct the mo- 
lasses which drop through the pierced bottoms of the 
vases into other large vats ; when the molasses are thus 
drawn off" the vases are reversed, and the sugar is sepa- 
rated from the clay ; the brown sugar-loaf which remains 
is now divided into its respective qualities ; the best is 
that which formed the base of the cone, and it gra- 
dually deteriorates toward the apex. 

The sugar is then spread for several days to dry in the 
sun; after which it is packed in boxes, containing each 
eighteen arrobes, or about four hundred weight, and is 
ready for exportation. In the mean lime the molasses 
are either submitted to another process, for sale in that 
condition, or are carried on to the distillery, where they 

* Filtering is not usually performed on the " ingenios," or sugar 
plantations, in Cuba. 


are soon reduced to brandy, at the option of the manu- 
facturer. In the course of all these operations nothing 
is lost or wasted ; the dregs, &c., are used to fatten or 
feed the pigs and cattle ; and the bruised rind of the cane, 
when withdrawn from the rollers, is placed under an 
enormous shed, where it is allowed to dry, and becomes 
admirable fuel for supplying the furnaces for the boilers 
and distillation. The brandy made from the sugar is by 
no means bad; indeed, I tasted some from the vats of 
my host which was much better than the average "real 
French brandy," sold in the taverns in England or the 
United Slates. 

In order to distil brandy from molasses, the custom 
is here to mix the ingredients in the following propor- 
tions : — Guarapo (or unrefined syrup), eight; molasses, 
three ; water, three. A little lime is of course added 
to these, under the process of fermentation. The ave- 
rage price of the aguardiente, or sugar brandy, is twen- 
ty-five dollars a pipe (i. e. the price given to the manu- 
facturer by the merchants) ; the pipe contains about one 
hundred and twenty-five gallons, which would give a rough 
average of one shilling sterling per gallon for this spirit, 
which is very pure and strong. If the price remained 
for any length of time at the same height as duiing my 
visit, the sugar planters must accumulate immense for- 
tunes ; some of them were making annually four thou- 
sand boxes, of which the profits, after deducting one- 
third for expenses, w^ere calculated this year at upwards 
of sixty thousand dollars. One or two on the island 
make annually from seven to len'thousand boxes. 

On January 20th, sugar was selling at twelve reals the 
brown, and sixteen reals the white, per arrobe (twenty- 
five pounds) ; a box contains about seventeen arrobes. 
Be it remembered, that, whatever may be the price of 
sugar, it is the custom in the Havana market to keep 
the white at four reals per arrobe above the brown. 

Afier spending a day with my host, I went, accom- 
panied by him and his lady, to pay a visit to his brother 
at a village called Marielli, The day was beautiful, and 
the continued variety of the soil, and of its productions, 
made me indifferent to the jolting and shaking which I 


received on the road. At length, we reached the top of 
a high hill which commands the said village of Marielli. 
I have scarcely ever seen a more glorious prospect than 
that which 1 here enjoyed. All around me, in the fore- 
ground, were the royal palms, cocoas, gnayavas, and 
hundreds of other trees, some bearing fruit, and others 
clustered with flowers, even in January.* Below n)e was 
the noble bay, wider and longer than that of Havana, 
and rendered more beautiful by the gentle curve with 
which it sweeps round the wooded and fertile promonto- 
ries formincr its seaward opening. Four or five schoo- 
ners, and a few smaller and more picturesque vessels were 
lazily slumbering on its tranquil bosom, while its inland 
margin was enlivened by the passing and repassing of 
many teams of oxen carrying boxes of sugar, &c., down 
to the quay. The little town itself is neat and cleanly ; 
and, from the distance at which I viewed it, the open 
balconies and scattered palms gave it quite an Oriental 
appearance. Behind it to the westward and southward, 
the hills rose with a gentle slope, interspersed here and 
there with fields of maize or sugar ; while tfie distant back- 
ground was filled up with a wild and rugged mountain 
outline, without which, according to my opinion (or rather 
prejudice), no landscape prospect can be perfect. 

After contemplating this scene for sometime, we de- 
scended the hill, and soon found ourselves in the house 
of my late host's brother. We were heartily welcomed 
by our new host, who resembled very much, both in 
plain hearty manner, as well as in personal embonpoint, 
an English country gentleman. I was introduced to 
his wife, a very pretty little woman, apparently about 
thirty, but even for that age remarkable in Cuba for her 
clear complexion, fine teeth, and general youthful ap- 
pearance : my astonishment was extreme on learning 
that she had been the mother of fifteen or seventeen 
children ; of these only five were living, but (judging 
from her appearance) I thought it not improbable that 
she might have fifteen more. 

* It would appear from the text, that the climate of Cuba is very 
similar to that of Corfu, as described by the most eloquent and graphic 
writer of old. {ViieYiom. Odyssey, ?/. 115.) 


After dinner, and just at the close of the day, we went 
down to the waier-side, and, with a considerable party, 
bolh of males and females, jumped into a boat and push- 
ed off into tlie beautiful bay. We had dismissed llie 
negro crew, and amateur rowing was the consequence ; 
this may not have increased our speed, but it cerlainly 
tended much to our comfort. Silting on a bench close 
to a negro rowing, would poison ihe most spicy breeze 
that could be wafted from the shores of Araby, and 
would disturb the sweetest moonlight reverie into which 
a lover could fall. But I must not forget to boast that rray 
rowing excited much admiration : I could both feather my 
oar and bend my back, neither of which performances 
was comprehensible to my amateur companions, although 
one or two of them nearly broke both oar and back in en- 
deavouring to achieve them. The moon was bright, the 
scene lovely, the party very gay, and though my ihoughis 
did wander a litile now and then from them, they strayed 
to subjects and to scenes sweeter and dearer to my con- 
templation than even the beautiful bay, through which 
our little bark now made its rippling way. 

On the following morning I went out before breakfast 
to see a pottery, which was extensive, and apparently 
well managed. There was little amusing or worthy of 
record, excepting a certain simple forcing-pump lately 
arrived from England : it was found that the roof of a 
small temporary shed impeded the movement of the le- 
ver, and two Spaniards, and half-a-dozen negroes, were 
employed in taking it down. This operation, which 
would have cost two English labourers three minutes, 
occupied an hour, at the end of which, the roof of the 
little shed, instead of being taken off whole, to be re- 
placed at pleasure, was broken into a dozen pieces. It 
it is probable, judging by analogy, that this roof had cost 
the same number of persons two day's labour in iis con- 

From Marielli, we proceeded in a southerly direction 
lo the district called St. Marc's. Our road led us for 
some miles over a rough and broken country ; we passed 
a few sugar estates, but the scenery in general possessed 
litile interest or variety. After travelling about twelve 


or fifteen miles, we came to a high elevated plain of ex- 
tretnely red soil, and my companion informed me, that 
we were now entering the district of St. Marc's. Our vo- 
lante went smoothly along for many miles through the 
most beautiful garden that ever J beheld : the term may 
appear strange ; but it is indeed true, that the whole dis- 
trict alluded to is one continuous garden. The sides of 
the road were Imed with noble palms, and the hedges 
were of neatly trimmed lemon ; every quarter of an hour 
we passed some large, double iron gate, which formed 
tliri entrance to a plantation, called here a " cafetal,"* and 
the eye was constantly reposing on a variety of luxuriant 
verdure, enlivened even at this season by many fruits 
and flowers. 

At length we came to the plantation of Mr. C , the 

gentleman at whose house we proposed to spend a day. 
We found the family at dinner ; and after the usual form 
of introducing me had been gone through, we were in- 
vited to sit down at the table. There was neither cere- 
mony nor ostentation, but much politeness and hospita- 
lity. Our venerable host was one of the most extraordi- 
nary instances of a gay and healthy old age that I ever 
saw. The exact number of his years was not ascertain- 
ed, but they were known to exceed eighty-six. He rises 
in the morning at four or five, goes all round his estates 
on foot, eats a hearty breakfast, and spends the greater 
part of the day among his trees, fruits, &c. 1 believe he 
is of French origin, and was a resident in St. Domingo 
till the revolution in that island, since which he has been 
in Cuba. His conversation is lively, and is the most 
amusing mixture possible of French and Spanish. As 
far as 1 could discover, his prejudices do not lean to ei- 
ther language, and in every sentence he uses nearly an 
equal number of words belonging to each. The rest of 
the party consisted of his son and daughter-in-law, a very 
pretty pleasing woman, with two or three beautiful chil- 

* The Cuban estates, or country-seats, are variously denominated, 
according to the produce raised upon them : thus, a sugar estate is 
called an " ingenio ;" a coffee plantation, "cafetal;" a farm for the 
cultivation of yucca, maize, corn, cScc, " estancia," or " sitio ;" a park 
for breeding and rearing cattle and horses, " potrero." 


After dinner we drove out to see a " cafetal," called 
Ponton, which is one of the finest in the island. A short 
descripiion of it will serve lo illustrate tlie general dispo- 
sition of these garden estates. Indeed, one or two par- 
ticulars which I sfiall introduce do not occur in this plan- 
tation, but as they are usual in the district, I shall include 
ihem, as the object is to give an idea of the general cha- 
racter of a plantation in St. Marc's. You enter by a mag- 
nificent avenue of palms, from fifty to a hundred yards 
wide, on each side of which are two narrower parallel 
avenues, like those of the long walk at Windsor. Through 
the mtervals of these palms you see a boundless range of 
verdure : below are the coffee plants, not very unlike the 
Portugal laurel in Britain, only more regular in form, as 
well as more delicate in appearance ; above this, the 
huge leaves of the plantain spread their shade, ^nd wave 
their feathery tops in protection of the more precious 
shrub from the rays of the sun : numberless trees of va- 
rious kinds, mostly fructiferous, are scattered in every 
direction ; and the eye experiences nothing like lassitude. 
The avenues beforementioned vary much in length, some 
being half a mile, others as much as two miles. 

On arriving at iheu house, which is generally a low 
comfortable building in the cottage style, you see before 
it, and divided by a lawn, a large range of buildings for 
the reception and stowage of the coffee, for the husking 
it,,. and several large areas of hard-baked clay, surrounded 
by low walls, where it is dried in the sun. A little from 
this there is generally a square or an oblong space, round 
which the negro huts are burlt : these have their doors 
and windows opening on the inside, and the square is 
fastened at night by a high iron grate. In addition to 
these securities, there are generally one or two watch- 
men, and some large dogs which are only loosed at night, 
and which would pull down any negro whom they could 
come at. However, in spite of these precautions, many 
have escaped to the mountains, where they live in bands, 
in accessible fastnesses and jungles, existing miserably 
upon wild fruits, and upon the scanty gleanings of rob- 
bery or hunting that may now and then fall in their 


To proceed with our plantation. Around the house is 
generally a parterre of flowers ; in that of Ponton there 
is a very neatly finished liltle labyrinth of .lemon, in the 
centre of which is a marble statue, which, as I could not 
make out what deity it was intended to represent, is pro- 
bably the goddess of ptizzles. Many of these must be 
extremely beautiful in spring, for, even at this ungenial 
season, there were a great variety of sweet odours and 

On the opposite side of the house from the above-de- 
scribed entrance, is another avenue leading in the con- 
trary direction, composed of mango trees, which form an 
impenetrable shade; and from the wings of the house, 
at right angles to these appioaches, are two other ave- 
nues of almond, lemon, and orange trees, all bending un- 
der their load of fruit. You drive on through these ave- 
nues till you come to the extremity of the garden, which 
is at the extremity of the estate, and you enter another 
similarly beautiful. Nothing but water and mountains 
are wanted to make it an Eden. 

Most of these estates have pretty names, as it appears 
to have been a graceful and usual compliment among the 
Spanish nobility and gentry, when they married, to call 
the estate after the christian name of the bride ; e. g, 
in the neighbourhood of my present tour were several, 
with " La Matilda," (the property of the Marquis of Ar- 
cos,) " La Catalina," — " La Ser'aphina," &:c., written in 
iron or gilt letters on the entrance. This district of the 
island will soon be even more beautiful than it is now; 
for it has been lately discovered that the coffee can 
scarcely be too much shaded, and I passed through one 
plantation where it was reared under the natural timber : 
thus, the whole estate was a continued wood of every 
variety of fruit and forest tree. Among these were scat- 
tered a great many plantains, and below all a conti- 
nuous dark green sea of coffee. In the spring and sum- 
mer, when this last is in flower, I defy the most aromatic 
imagination to conceive the effect. 

The tenure of property in Cuba is not very dissimilar 
to that in England. Most of the estates in the best fa- 
milies are '' vinculados," or entailed. This entail is even 

Vol. IL— O 


more strict than that of Scotland ; it can be broken by no 
family arrangement, nor by any court of law, but only 
by decree of tlie king of Spain. Besides the tenure of 
actual property, there are also some rights of seignory, 
which arose in the following manner : The king form- 
erly made grants of land in this island ; these were al- 
ways measured by the radius of a circle of certain di- 
mensions, drawn from a certain spot mentioned as cen- 
tre. These estates so granted were usually of one or 
two leagues radius, or, of course, two or four leagues in 
diameter. The former are called " corrales," and the 
latter " haciendas."* The grantees, either from living 
in Spain, or from other causes, being unable to cultivate 
their large tracts of land, divided them into smaller lots 
and re-granted them; at \Ahich time they were valued, 
and upon this valuation the original grantees received a 
per centage, which, as established by law, must be not 
less than five and not more than six per cent, per annum. 
As long as these fines are duly paid, all the right or 
interest of the original grantees in the land ceases ; but 
upon non-payment they m.ay bring a suit of ejectment, 
(a " pleyto de lanzamiento,") and re-enter upon them.f 
It may be easily imagined, that, with the carelessness 
with which royal grants of colonial land are usually made, 
and the imperfect state of maps and surveys in the island, 
these circular grants frequently intersected each other, 
and two grantees of a hacienda found themselves, with 
the centres of their respective domains, only one league 
instead of two apart. These cases have afforded an am- 
ple field of employment for the lawyers ; a race of wor- 
thies, who, if I am rightly informed, yield to none of 
their brother land-sharks in any part of the world in pet- 
tifogging, and every branch of licensed roguery. The 
centres of these circles are called the " asiento," or seat ; 

* The generic term for all these is Hacienda. 

t I am not quite clear as to the law on this point, as one proprietor 
assured me that the grantor could not re-enter, but could force a sale 
undfir warrant of the court ; and that his claims had precedence of those 
of all other creditors, even supposing the king or government to be 
among them ; of course, the purchaser becomes bound in the same 


and in addition to those abovementioned is another es- 
tate called " hato," which is of a radius of three leagues ; 
but these are extremely rare. 

After spending a day and a half in this delightful dis- 
trict, we prepared to retire to Don Dionysio Mantilla's. 
Accordingly, we committed ourselves to the tender mer- 
cies of our calesero, who unfortunately had taken brandy 
enough to make him insensible to the dangers and perils 
of ruls, stumps, stones, &c. In despite of our entrea- 
ties, he galloped over these most execrable roads, and 
we were half inclined to believe, that he had laid a wa- 
ger that he would break our volante, and a few of our 
limbs, before he relumed. There was no alternative for 
us but to submit, or shoot him ; we preferred the former 
plan, and bore our shaking with christian philosophy. 
Thanks to Providence, and none to the calesero, we did 
arrive in safety, and on the following morning returned 
to Havana. 

I there found that some of my obliging friends had 
completed their arrangements for taking me to see an- 
other part of the island, to the south-east of the city, 
called here the Vuelta Arriba, in contradistinction to the 
Vuelta Abaja before mentioned. Accordingly, we started 
in two volantes, and reached before dinner the sugar es- 
tate of a gentleman, whose acquaintance I had made in 
Havana. This was a large establishment, but different 
in nothing from that before mentioned, excepting that 
the cane was pressed by a steam-engine ; this last, how- 
ever, was not quite completed, and it was, of course, the 
constant theme and occupation of those interested in the 
**ingenio." Accordingly, I got very tired of the ma- 
chine, and agreed willingly to the proposal of one of my 
friends to visit a Spanish family a few leagues distant. 

The scenery which we passed through on this little 
excursion, was as different from that of St. Marc's as the 
highlands are from Kent : but to ray taste it was more 
beautiful, because it was a varied succession of wooded 
hills and large valleys, dotted with palms, and rich with 
endless fields of sugar-cane. To say anything about 
the roads is useless ; words worse than " execrable " are 


not pretty to write, and even when written might convey 
but a feeble notion of the state of the roads in Cuba. 

The fannily of Montalvo, which 1 was now about to 
visit, is one of the first and most wealthy in the island. 
They received me with the same hospitality which I have 
universally experienced here, and I was glad to obtain so 
good an opportunity of observing the domestic manners 
and country habits of the best CrioUo society. There 
were many ladies in the family, two or three married, 
but most of them young, and there was no steam-engine ; 
so that we had a chance of general conversation. One 
of the most striking features of the domestic economy of 
this, as of ail other large establishments in Cuba, is the 
immense and apparently useless ivumber of house ser- 
vants. I learned that between a hundred and a hundred 
and twenty mouths were daily fed, and yet the waiting 
at table was not near so convenient or so efficient as that 
of an English country gentleman's house with a butler 
and two footmen. Black boys and girls were hovering 
around the room, yet they never anticipated a want on 
the part of the guests, scarcely ever supplied it when 
expressed. To get some salt was often the result of 
five minutes' reiterated entreaty ; and after dinner, when 
the coffee was served, the whole company, more than 
once, wailed ten minutes before they could procure either 
sugar Of milk. These mixtures of the magnificent, and 
the '• mesquin," these strange inconsistencies, arean:iong 
the remarkable features of society in this Spanish island. 
The doors are all open ; windows, there are none ; 
the mastiffs, curs, and puppies, roam at pleasure through 
the tile-paved saloons, and when one of the young ladies 
sits down to play or sing at the piano-forte, half-a-dozen 
slovenly dressed black girls loiter near the instrument to 
listen, while two or three others, belong to the nursery, 
bring their squalling charge to disturb and drown the 
music. The quadruped domestics of the family are upon 
a similar scale lo the biped establishment: e.g. I need 
only say that, in a small enclosure near the house, were 
ninety volante horses and mules, fattening upon maize 
and the various parts of the sugar-cane which are allotted 
for their use. 


The average routine of a Cuban dinner is as follows : 
First, a soup, either of vermicelli or vegetables, generally 
containing a good deal of bread; then comes the pride 
of Spain, the olla, a kind of boulli, which is eaten with 
a mixed dish of vegetables, such as sweet potatoes, cab- 
bage, and a kind of pea,* which last is apt to be large, 
yellow, tough, and dry ; then come several dishes of hash 
and " emince,"t mostly dressed with eggs, and flavoured 
with garlic and onions : fried plantains, yams, Irish or 
Guernsey potatoes, are on the table; two large dishes 
of rice occupy an important place, one plain boiled, 
another flavoured with the gravy of two or three fowls 
which are boiled in it, and also seasoned with garlic. 
Among the favourite side-dishes, are dried beef,J grated 
and served up warm with a sauce ; cotelletes de mouton ; 
a dish of boiled and seasoned tripe, or " pied de veaux ;" 
and small croquettes of brains, which last are very good. 
When all these trifles have been disposed of,"the at- 
tention of the company is called to roast guinea-fowl, 
roast turkey, and sometimes a dish of fish ; unless the 
house be close to the sea, this last is rarely presented, 
as it is impossible, owing to the climate, to keep it fresh 
many hours — of course, I need not add that, in a Catho- 
lic country, there are also several modes used of serving 
it up sailed ; then (after all these skirmishes have been 
disposed of) comes the tug of war, in the shape of a joint 
of beef at the top, and another of roast mutton at the 
bottom, and a large salad in the middle. The beef is 
generally but poor in flavour ; the mutton is excellent, 
although they commit the error, common to the whole 
western world, of killing it too young, and ahhough they 
are generally obliged to eat it a few hours after it is kill- 
ed ; notwithstanding these disadvantages, it is sweet, 
tender, and well-flavoured. If the dinner is given after 
the real Criollo fashion, the party here breaks up and re- 

* Spanish "garbanzo." 
t Picadillo. 

t Tasajo, imported from Buenos Ayres when wanted for the con- 
sumption of the negroes, and brought from a place called Cayo Romano, 
on the north-eastern part of Cuba, when intended for the use of their 



tires for a quarter of an hour to the garden, or to (he 
shaded wooden galleries round the house; the gentle- 
men light their cigars, and the ladies chat among them- 

Afier this quarter of an hour's rest, the black major- 
domo again sumn:ions the guests to table, when the des- 
sert is served, generally accompanied by a cheese from 
Old or New England. Here the richness and fertility af 
the island is fully displayed ; the number and variety of 
the sweetmeats is perfectly astonishing. Jt is useless to 
record the names of all these fruits, even if 1 knew them, 
because many of them are totally unknown in Britain, 
and untranslateable into our language.* I have tasted 
them all, and have found none so pleasant to my palate 
as the one so familiar to sweetmeat lovers in England, 
under the name of " Guava" jelly. (We have treated 
this word with much leniency, considering our usual 
habits, when we naturalize names, as we have only lopped 
one syllable, its proper designation being Guayava.) 
Other dishes there are, however, the very sight or de- 
scription of which might make the youthful habitants of 
a nursery, or the mischievous tenantry of a boarding- 
school, male or female, lick their hps for half an hour ; 
such as " sweet cakes of maize, to be eaten with the 
purest extract of sugar, resembling molasses " (called 
here " miel "); " grated cocoa-nut bathed in lemon or cit- 
ron syrup," a kind of marmalade made from a fruit called 
mammei ; various preparations of " ciruelas," or plums 
preserved ; and many others which I am unwilhng to 
note down, lest some unfortunate young master or miss 
should happen to cast his or her eye on this page, and 

* Some of these fruits are as follows : — 

Mamvici, — about the size and shape of a small melon. 

Guannvana — a large fruit with prickly rind (chiefly used in making 
ice or sherbet). 

Sapoie — called in Jamaica, star-apple, something like a brown Beurre 
(commonly called in English, " Bury " pear). 

Caimiio — a small fruit containing a sweet, brownish, purple pulp, and 
two or three stones. 

Papaya (Pawpaw of Jamaica) — this fruit is similar to, but ten times 
3^8 large as that which goes by the same name in America. 

Naranjas de China, and other varieties of oranges, ao well as sweet 
lemons and limes. 


"pine with vain desire" for these transatlantic sweets. 
The dessert being disposed of, coffee is served, gene- 
rally without milk, and the lords of the creation again be- 
take themselves to their philosophy— I mean their cigars. 
Such is a tolerably correct description of an average 
Cuban dinner-party. 

There is one part of the dietetic system in this island, 
which, although perfectly new to me, pleased me after 
the first few days very much : the dinner is generally 
about half-past two or three o'clock, and after it nothing 
more is eaten till bed-time, when a cup of hot "cafe au 
lait " is offered to those who choose it. This plan of ab- 
stinence during the later hours of evening is extremely 
conducive to health ; it renders sleep light and refresh- 
ing, and the sleeper wakens early in the morning with a 
cool head and a clear eye. How far preferable to the 
late dinners in England, or the heavy suppers in Ame- 
rica ! yet I must own that I have never, even at this cool 
season, known in Cuba, what it is to feel the keen healthy 
appetite, which has been my almost constant companion 
in other countries ; nor do I think that any reasonable in- 
ducement, except being in love (and that is not one), 
could prevail upon me to spend a summer there. 

I look some long rambles in the neighbourhood of San 
Ignacio, (foi so is Don Juan Monialvo's "ingenio" 
named), and enjoyed many scenes of beauty. All around 
was a little undulating world of woods, covered with 
every variety of foliage, and sugar-fields studded with 
palms ; while from the summit of one commanding hill, 
I caught a ghmpse of that magnificent ocean which has 
existed ever since old Time began his course, and will 
exist until he ends it — the theme of every poet, and the 
field of meditation for every son of earth who has a heart 
to feel or a mind to reflect. 

I visited, in company with my host, many of the 
neighbouring sugar estates, on one of which was a steam- 
engine ; to my great relief I found that it required neither 
repair nor amendment ; it performed its duty perfectly, 
and squeezed out as much saccharine juice, for its satis- 
fied lord, as could have been expressed by twenty yokes 
of oxen. The engine, engineer, and all the apparatus 


were English ; and the owner, who had been sonne years 
in Britain, had made a very neat and efficient dam on a 
small stream near his house, which supplied abundance 
of water. From this we visited a *' cafetal " belonging 
lo my hosts, where they reside a few months of every 
year. The house is beautifully situated on the summit 
of a hill, on both sides of which were extensive hantrincr- 
gardens, laid out, originally, with much taste : there were 
also long green sward walks, terminating in arbours and 
bowers of roses, even now in full flower ; but the bowers 
wore a deserted appearance, and the neglected roses 
seemed to mourn the absence of the "Catalina" or 
" Conchita" who should attend and support them. 

After spending two or three days very pleasantly at 
San Ignacio, I resolved, although my kind hosts pressed 
me to stay longer, to proceed to Matanzas, a well-known 
seaport about seven leagues distant from their " ingenio." 
The roads were too bad for a volante ; I was accordingly 
furnished with a pony, and my guide, a negro boy of 
about sixteen years old, carried my small portmanteau on 
a venerable rocinante, which apparently had considerable 
advantage of his rider in point of age. The day was 
fine, and I ambled slowly along, for three very good 
reasons: — first, my horses could go no faster; secondl}^, 
the scenery was beautiful, and induced its natural accoin- 
paniments of alternate musing and admiration; thirdly, 
I had contrived to pick up a kind of low fever, or general 
feeling of pain and oppression, which, although not alarm- 
ing, was unfavourable to rapid movements or violent ex- 

Having given these three excellent excuses for riding 
slowly, 1 will pursue my easy way. I was obliged to 
call up my guide repeatedly, for even my moderate amble 
seemed to distress his rocinante ; and the road made 
many turns, and often branched to the riglit or left to 
avoid the abrupt hills through which we were travelling. 
On these occasions the negro urchin generally contrived 
to steal a march upon me : he allowed me to choose my 
own road; I looked back to him from the one which I 
pursued, and receiving no sign in answer, concluded that 
all was right. When he arrived at the place where the 


roads forked, I saw him coolly following a different one : 
of course, I had lo return and o\ertake him ; and when I 
endeavoured to expostulate, and explain lo him that he 
ought 10 have directed me better, I received a satisfa^ tory 
and voluble answer in some African language, whether 
Congou or Mozambique I am not learned enough to 

At length I came to a very pretty village, about half- 
way of my day's journey. The houses were neat and 
newly whitewashed ; just above them rose the verdant 
side of a wooded hill, and below, a little winding brook 
stole quietly along through its sugar-clad banks. While 
riding slowly down the single street, I passed a house 
before which stood two figures, which I shall not 
easily forget : they were those of two girls, one might be 
sixteen, the other eighteen ; they were dressed plainly in 
white, and a few wild flowers were mingled with their 
black and braided hair. I have never seen two such 
specimens of Spanish beauty. The younger and smaller 
one had an oval face with pencilled brows, eyes that 
looked the very soul of mirth, and a dimple on each 
cheek, that might have been a cradle for the Muse of 
I'Allegro to sleep in. Her taller companion, with hair 
and brows as beautifully black, had a more expressive 
face ; her eyes were larger and more lustrous, ihcir 
lashes much longer, her nose more regularly formed, and 
her rich full lips were just parted enough lo display their 
pearly treasure. Her neck and bosom were in the ful- 
lest proportions of youthful beauty, and it seemed a 
wonder how so glorious a figure could stand secure on 
the taper little pedestal which peeped from beneath her 
gown. If her companion was the goddess of mirth, she 
seemed the goddess of pleasure ; and though these words 
are often con^jidered as very similar, if not synonymous, 
he who has passed the age of boyhood and still considers 
them so, is very much to be pitied, or, as some philoso- 
phers might argue, very much to be envied. The com- 
plexions of both were of clear and transparent olive, to 
which the last crimson rays of a setting sun lent a warm 
and glowing lint. 
I JDYoluntarily reined up my horse, and looked, per-. 


haps, more admiringly llian politely ; my tongue seemed 
lo be under the same spell as my eyes, for 1 said in ihe 
best Spanish of which I was capable, " Good evening, 
Sefiorilas !" and *' oh ! how lovely !" Each looked ai the 
other, both blushed, and both laughed. I had no excuse 
for longer slay, so I urged forward my sieed ; but I am 
afraid that my spell-bound eyes lingered still on the spot 
where they stood, and that I rode out of the village like a 
mountebank, with my head to my horse's tail. Strange is 
the power, the fascination, the mystery of beauty! By- 
ron is right, and his much criticised line, "The music 
breathing from that face," is sense as well as poetry. 
Among the many connecting links between beauty and 
music, not the least powerful are those of harmony and 
association, which belong equally lo both ; and thus I 
found myself musing for many lazy miles, not so much 
over the faces and forms which I had just left, as over 
those far more distant both in time and space which they 
suggested ; the chord was touched, and its vibrations 
trembled even to my heart's core. 

I will pass over my musings for the next hour or two, 
which went on undisturbed, under the favourable influence 
of a bright moonshine, a lazy horse, bad roads, and beau- 
tiful scenery. I was awakened from my reverie by the 
sounds of music : these I could never pass unnoticed ; 
I found that they proceeded from a house by the road- 
side, where thirty or forty of the country people were 
dancing to a guitar and flageolet. Jumping off my horse, 
I entered the ball-room ; and have no hesitation in saying, 
that my entrance occasioned as great a sensation as that 
of the young duke at the country ball in Yorkshire. I 
happened to have on my head a Scottish bonnet ; the 
rest of my apparel was of the linen usually worn in 
Cuba. The dancing ceased, and I was immediately 
surrounded by the whole contents of the room, male and 
female. All spoke at once, and inquired in macada- 
mized English {broken is too feeble an expression), scraps 
of French, and various dialects of nigger Spanish, who, 
<^id what I was, whence I came, whither was I go- 
inV, &c. 

I was baited by this motley circle for about ten mi- 


nutes ; but as I did not get angry or vexed as they ex- 
pected, but puffed my cigar slowly the whole time, they 
insisted upon my dancing. I said T did not understand 
their dances, but that I would join them in any kind of 
EngUsh dance. Of course I did not expect to be taken 
at my word, when to my horror they 'led up to me a 
young English dame of 'forty, who expressed her wil- 
lingness to " take the floor" with me. Accordingly, she 
ordered the musicians to strike up, which ihey did, and 
produced a most outlandish tune, to which it seemed to 
me impossible to adapt any dance, English, Scotch, or 
Irish, that ever I had seen. My fair partner looked at 
me with a confidential air of triumph, saying at the same 
time, '* You know that tune ?" I guessed what a storm 
my ^ reply would raise; but prompted by my love of 
truth, 1 mustered a due proportion of courage and hu- 
mility, and answered " No, madam." She elevated her 
nose and eyebrows, in supreme coniempt, and said, 
"'Then you know-nothing." I replied in the same tone 
as before, " Madame, I never made any pretensions to 
much knowledge." In spite of my hum'iliiy, she tossed 
her head in disdain and left me. 

Having thus lost my fair ally (who, by the by, was 
an American and not an Englishwoman,) I was again 
assailed by my merry group of tormentors, among whom 
was a young man whose vocation it was impossible to 
mistake, and who pressed me very much to dance a horn- 
pipe, setting me the example by capering about the 
room himself. This youth seemed to be a little superior 
in rank to his companions ; he was dressed m a straight 
cut sporting-coal with gilt buttons : his trousers of linen, 
fitted so close to the leg as to show its form, which un- 
fortunately was none of the straighiest; he had a riding- 
whip in his hand ; and on his head a low-crowned broad- 
brimmed straw hat, cocked a little on one side, betraying 
thereby that the wearer's hair, though a Spaniard, was 
as fair as that of a Norwegian. Who does not recog- 
nize even this rough imperfect portrait ? Oiher profes- 
sional characters it may be sometimes difficult to dis- 
tinguish, but the spruce clerk in a counting-house is the 
same in England, Germany, America, and Cuba. 

168 MY HOST. 

After performing several little evolutions a la TagUoni 
to encourage me, the dandy happened to inquire where I 
proposed to slay or lodge in Matanzas. When 1 lold 
him '' en casa del Don S. D ," astonishment, not un- 
mixed with confusion, was deeply depicted on his droll 
and good-humoured visage, and 1 soon gathered that he" 

was a clerk in Mr. D 's employment. He now used 

his influence to prevent his companions from carrying, 
their jokes to any length that might be unpleasant to me. 
I was invited to take a cup of coffee, and having ac- 
cepted this " cup o' kindness," bade the assembly fare- 
well, and pursued my ride to Matanzas. 

On arriving there 1 presented my letter, and was re- 
ceived by Mr. D with great politeness. I became 

an intimate of his comfortable house, an arrangement 
which was the more desirable, because the taverns or 
lodging-houses in the town are mean and scant in their 
accommodations. I found in my new host one of the 
most agreeable and instructive companions whom I had 
met on the island ; his practice as a merchant, as well as 
the management of several sugar and coffee estates be- 
longing to his family, (which is one of the wealthiest in 
Cuba,) rendered him perfectly familiar with all practical 
subjects interesting to a stranger, while I found liis mind 
cultivated and enlarged by travel, as he had resided se- 
veral years in Germany, and nearly a similar period in 
England, America, and Mexico ; moreover, he had a 
very fine voice, and touched the guitar and piano-forte 
with much taste. With such a companion, it may be 
easily believed that I passed my time very pleasantly. 
My enjoyment, however, was much damped by the con- 
tinuance of the fever which I had caught in the country : 
I felt still weak and chilly, and a sort of aching seemed 
to have taken possession of all my joints. Indeed, the 
weather was said to be colder than had been known for 
many years in the island ; a strong norlh wind blew, and 
its effects were by no means diminished by the construc- 
tion of the houses, in which you are perpetually obliged 
to sit between four open doors, with your feet on a cold 
stone floor. Whatever was the cause, I must say that I 
felt the cold much more severely than ever I did in Ame- 


rica when tlie thermometer was from IS'^ to 20° below 
zero, though I do not beheve it could have been here be- 
low 55<^. 

To cure myself, I adopted a regimen for which the 
London faculty would have sent me to bedlam : I ate 
very liiile, drank a pint of London porter daily, and in a 
few days I recovered. 


Town of Matanzas. — Excursions on Horseback. — Fertile Valley. 

Day-dreams. — Cock-fight. — Lofty Mountain — Ascent to its Summit. 
' — Magnificent Prospect. — Forest Trees.— Trails of Runaway Ne- 
groes. — Different Tribes of African Slaves imported into Cuba. 

Congou Musical Instruments, — Negro Suicide. — Return to Havana. 
— Mercantile Excitement produced by a sudden Kise in the Price of 

Sugar. — Management of a Sugar Estate in Cuba, — The Carnival. 

Bull-fight — The Italian Opera. — TertuUias. — Gay Scene in the Plaza 
de Armas. — Commerce and Statistics. — Treaty for the Abolition of 
Slavery. — Dinner with the Governor. — The New Prison. — Masked 
Balls — Leave Havana. — Sail for Charleston. — A Storm. — Arrival in 
the Harbour. — Hospitable Reception. — Letters from Home. 

The town of Matanzas,* which lies about sixty miles 
south-east of Havana, is situated at the extremity of a 
bay six miles long, into which fall two small rivers which 
supply the town with water, and one of ihem being navi- 
gable for some distance for flat-boats, is very useful as a 
medium for the introduction of timber, tiles, vegetables, 
&c. On the north and west, the town is sheltered by 
high hills, and on the east by a low sloping wooded emi- 
nence. Few buildings of any importance, public or pri- 
vate, are in Matanzas ; there is only one church, and that 
a small one; in truth, sugar seems to be the god of Ma- 
tanzan idolatry, and a great deal of business is done, be- 
cause the land in its neighbourhood is more fertile than 
that near Havana. The sugar estates in that disirict have 

* There are some curious caves, one or two of very large extent near 
Matanzas, and it is more than probable that this town took its name 
from the " carnage" or '• slaughter" of the last unfortunate remnants 
of the aborigines of this island, who had fled to these caves for refuge 
Bnd concealment. 

Vol. IL— P •? 


but a short distance to send their produce ; consequently, 
sugar is frequently half a real lower than in the city ; 
moreover, it is a belter port to sail from for America, be- 
cause it lies sixty miles to windward of the other. 

Among the common shrubs in the gardens near Ma- 
tanzas, I found the arrow-root, the caoul-chouc, or In- 
dian-rubber tree, various kinds of pepper, and ihe Palma 
Christi, from which the castor-oil is extracted. 

T made several excursions on horseback, in some of 
which I enjoyed several beautiful views; one in particu- 
lar struck me as most remarkable. I went to the lop of 
the high ridge, which I mentioned as rising on the north- 
west of Matanzas, whence I could see the town, ihe bay 
crowded with shipping, and a broad expanse of ocean, 
its nearer margin easily tracked for a great distance by 
the white line of surf, and the promontories juiling into 
its bosom ; while on the seaward horizon a few specks, 
with the sun shining brightly upon them, completed the 
picture ; yei was each of these specks a floating building, 
carrying with it a certain proportion of happiness, misery, 
and wealth. Thus are we all — all our schemes, our 
plans, our trifling misfortunes, our still more trifling plea- 
sures, — all are mere specks on the great ocean of Eter- 
nity; and yet, viewed through the microscopic glass of 
self-love, how important do we seem ! 

But to return to my prospect. On the inland side of 
the high range on which I stood, was a deep and fertile 
valley, loaded with palms and sugar-cane, slieltered by 
an amphiiiieaire of hills. I never saw a quieier or more 
inviting spot. As I rode along I allowed my fancy to 
create many scenes in this valley, and turn it to all her 
own quaint purposes : first, it was a kind of Eastern 
paradise, with mos?ques, sloping gardens, &c. ; then it 
was the scene of Boccaccio's tales, and I imagined my- 
self and my companions in cap, plume, and slashed satin, 
hanging over a guitar, lazily stretched at the feet of our 
"• Donne leggiadre," listening to the fate of the parrot sa- 
crificed at the altar of love, or some of the other legends of 
that immoral and exquisitely written work. This idea was 
soon banished to make way for one more brilliant : the 
valley was made for a tournament ; already it was wav- 


nig scarfs and feathers ; it resounded with the clang of 
armour and the neighing of steeds ; the sloping hills 
around were alive with spectators ; in a pavilion at the 
end of the valley were the lords and ladies of highest 
degree. The jousts beoin, the lances are shivered, and 
an unknown knight, in bbtck armour and bearing on his 
shield, without device or ornament, the simple words 
" The Wanderer," bears down all before him and is pro- 
claimed hero of the tournament. 

Under the excitement of these dreams, I put spurs to 
my horse ; anJ giving a shout, that was a sort of medley 
of the Norman war-cry, the fox-hunting view-halloo, and 
the Pawnee yell, I charged at full speed along the ridge. 
The road made a sudden turn, and I almost overthrew 
an unfortunate peasant who was coming in the opposite 
direction with eight or ten loaded mules. I ran against 
one or two of them before I could pull up my horse ; 
then came a thought of Don Quixote, a hearty laugh, and 
an apology to the paesano for disturbing his convoy. 
How much finer are the castles in the air built by a 
younger brother, than the proudest edifices raised in Lon- 
don or Yorkshire by the wealthiest peer or millionnaire ! 
Moreover, they require not the aid of any fasliionable 
architect ; they are removable at pleasure, and can be 
pulled down as soon as built up ; an object which some 
proprietors seem to have considered as the more impor- 
tant of the two. 

On the 7th of February, I went with Mr. D to 

make a short tour in the country. At a village, called 
La Moche, I went into a tavern for a few minutes to see 
a cock-fight. It is well known thai this is a favourite 
amusement both in Cuba and Mexico. Indeed, since 
the governor of this island has broken up " monti," and 
other kinds of public gambling, the Cubans have re- 
served all their bettuig energies for the cockpit : they 
frequently w^ager one thousand dollars a-side on a single 
cock, besides the by-bets which may be made. I am 
told that the cocks here are very good, and remarkably 
well trained. The best breed come from England, and 
go by the name of J.ord Derby's breed; of these every 
planter boasts of the possession of one or two ; the ori- 


ginal importations do not succeed in their combats, pre?- 
babiy owing lo their not thriving in this climate. 

Jn regard to the cock-fight itself, I need only say that 
it was the first I ever saw, and I sincerely hope it 
may be the last. I could take no interest in it, neither 
could I observe any skill in the combatants. I have 
seen many a quarrel between two black cocks in Scot- 
land over a few grains of corn, which was much better 
worth seeing, in respect to the size, strength and beauty 
of the feathered heroes. 

A few leagues from Matanzas is a mountain, w^ell 
known to all mariners who approach the island from the 
north, under the name of " Pan de Matanzas " (from its 
supposed resemblance to a loaf.) It is a good landmark 
from the sea, and is not to be mistaken, on account of its 
height and peculiar form. This mountain is covered 
■with wood to the very summit, and affords a retreat to 
considerable numbers of "cimarrones," or runaway ne- 
groes. Except these worthies, I understand that few of 
the inhabitants of the island had ever been on the top of 
it. ' Thinking that it must command a splendid prospect, 
we determined upon ascending it ; and accordingly we 
took with us a couple of negroes, two Spaniards, one an 
employe in a sugar estate, the other a cattle-dealer, who 
often amused or employed himself in hunting "cimar- 
rones," for each of whom, when taken, he received four 
or five dollars. As these fellows are numerous, and live 
only by robbing, it was not considered prudent to go .al- 
together unprepared ; so they took two or three swords, 
and I had with me a brace of small pocket-pistols. 

The principal difficulty we had to encounter was the 
brushwood, which was so thick in some places that we 
were obliged to cut a path through it with the swords. 
When we got about half-way to the summit, we found 
some very precipitous rocks, and were obliged to scram- 
ble on hands and knees, and to follow many windings to 
get above them. At this elevation the whole stratum on 
which we walked, was broken stone in large loose 
masses. It was difficult lo conceive how the various 
beautiful trees and plants which surrounded us could 
find root in such a bed of stones ; and an active imagi- 


nation might Iiavc found a parallel in the virtues and good 
actions which will sometimes break out in the most har- 
dened and ungenial natures. All the stones and rocks 
around seemed of the same coral or lime formation, and 
among them were many sweet little miniature valleys, of 
thirty or fifty yards in length, carpeted with rich herbage, 
shaded with various trees, and protected from the rays of 
the sun, and from the rude breath of the winds, by the 
precipices which overhung and surrounded them. In 
these we saw many recent marks of tlie " cimarrones ;" 
and I could not deny that they had shown some taste in 
the selection of their abode. What would I not have 
given for such a bedroom, on many occasions, during my 
ramble among the unsheltered barrens of the western 
desert ! 

After about an hour's walking and clambering we 
reached the top, without difficulty or fatigue. As usual, 
I found that the height, steepness, and other obstacles 
had been greatly exaggerated, and I have frequently 
crossed two or three mountains higher than this, in the 
course of a day's deer-shooting in the highlands. How- 
ever, it must be confessed that the lungs, the sinews, 
and all the corporal functions are much more feeble and 
relaxed in this climate, and a Scotchman not acclimated^ 
will find that a walk of ten miles in Cuba is about equal 
to, and much more rare in occurrence, than one of thirty 
miles at home. 

In order to get a clear view from the summit, we were 
obliged to climb a tree, and to cut all the leaves and 
brandies which hid the landscape from us. It was, then, 
indeed, a magnificent prospect ! On one side, a waving 
sea of sugar-canes and pahns ; on the other, the ocean, 
indented with numerous bays and promontories ; not the 
least interesting object being the town of Matanzas, with 
its shipping, and the two winding rivers which fall into 
the harbour. « 

I look the opportunity of my ramble to the top of the 
"Pan de Matanzas," to cut some sticks from the most 
curious and durable kinds of trees. I numbered thena 
as follow^s : — 



1. "Caimito," or " Caimitillo." 

2. " Yaya" — an elastic wood, sometimes used as a 

3. " Dagalbi" — often used for making wlieel-carts. 

4. "Malaju" — a very hard wood; a kind of gum is 
distilled from it, which is extremely healing in cases of 
cuts or wounds ; it is also used as a preveniive against 
spasms, lock-jaw, &c. 

On ihe same day I also broufjht in a coffee-stick, and 
one of a singular wood called " Yaiquag^." It has this 
peculiarity, that when first cut, and the rind peeled off, it 
is quite while, and after being exposed to the air a few 
hours it becomes of a rich mahogany colour. It is use- 
less, except in pursuance of a scientific object (to which 
task I am not compeieni)^ to attempt an enumeration of 
the forest trees of this large and fertile island ; their va- 
riety seems endless ; but I will mention a few of the 
names of those most esieemcd. 

1. " Quiebra-hache" — literally/' break -axe ;" Atiglice^ 

2. " Yava" — a hard wood, with narrow leaves. 

3. " Jocuma"^ — of the &ame character. 
. 4. "Frijolillo"— do. 

5. "Chicharon." 

6. " Carne di Donzella'* — very hard wood. 

7. "Cuajali." 

8. " Roble" — this w^ord ought to designate an oak ;; 
but I have seen the tree, and it seems to me to be a kind 
of Ilex. 

9. " Caopa" — Anglice, mahogany. 

10. " Cedro" — of this kind of cedar most of the doors 
and roofs of the best houses are built. 

11." Majagua" — Anglice, lance-wood. 

The above are all hard woods, and those most com- 
monly used by carpenters and joiners. Among the trees 
most admired for the beauty of their flowers and blos- 
soms, are — 

12. " Ceiba," (Bombax ceiba.) 

13. " Jobo," (Spondias myro-balanus.) 

14. " Caimito," ( Acropia pellata,) mentioned before, 


With the exception of Nos. 8, 9, 10, I am not aware 
that any of the above names are familiar lo old ISpain. 

In our descent we found many recent tracks of the 
"cimarrones," who had been doubtlesis disturbed and 
alarmed by our voices, and by the noise which we made 
in forcing our way through tlie brushwood. Of course, 
it was much more easy to trace ihem than it was dur- 
ing the ascent, because a man in running down a hill 
selects the softest place for his footing; whereas, in 
climbing it, he puts his foot upon the projections of 
rocks, stones, and the hardest spots that he can find. I 
was astonished at the quickness and skill with which 
our negro attendants followed tlie trail of their country- 
men ; it reminded me of my Indian companions in the 
West, and surprised me the more, from their diilness 
and stupidiiy in every other operation of mind or body. 
It is very natural that they should be eager to re-capture 
their runaway brethren, because these vagabonds live 
chiefly by stealing iheir pigs, fowls, and whatever other 
fruits of their industry may reward the employment of 
their leisure hours. 

It may not be uninteresting to some of my readers if 
I make a short digression, to give some account of the 
different tribes of African slaves imported into Cuba. 
They may be classed as follows : — 

1st. The Congou negroes from the neighbourhood of 
the Gold coast. Of these there are several tribes knowrii 
among the slave dealers; e. g. the Congou-reales, Con- 
gou loaldo, Congou-mondongo, &c. Their general cha- 
racter is lazy, mischievous, and apt lo run away; but 
lively in their amusements, as music, dancing, &c. ; very 
much given to lying, thieving, and all roguery. 

2d. Lucumi — also from the west coast of Africa ; very 
proud and haughty ; ihey are brave, and are often known 
to commit suicide, under the irritation of punishment or 

3d. Macua tribe — from the Mozambique coast ; gene- 
rally quiet, docile, and lazy ; not very numerous in- 

4th. Caravali tribe — from the western coast of Africa ;, 
very industrious and avaricious ; also choleric and hastv; 


m temper. Most of the free negroes in the island who 
are rich belong to this tribe. 

5th. Mina tribe — also from the west; lazy, stupid, 
and of no marked character.* 

6th. Gangas — also from the west; very mild and 
docile, but lazy. The greatest nuuiber of the Cuban 
slaves are froai this nalion. 

7th. Avard — also from the west ; of no peculiar char- 

8th, Mandinga — from the western side ; general 
character, quiet, obedient, and honest. 

The Congous have a singular method of conversing, 
by means of iheir simple and rough music, of which they 
are very fond : two of them meet on a road, one begins 
to sing, the other catches up the strain and answers in 
it ; and thus they converse for a period of an hour or 
two. I heard one of them play on a instrument, which 
certainly, in simplicity of contrivance exceeded any that 
I had ever seen. It is composed entirely of two sub- 
stances, the one a kind of "guira" or gourd; the upper 
extremity of which is hollowed out with a knife, so as to 
answer the purpose of the SS holes in a violin. From 
the top to the bottom of this fruit are stretched about a 
dozen horse hairs ; the bow is also formed of horse-hair, 
stretched on a bit of bent cane. On this instrument, our 
black Paganini played several quaint and not unmusical 
airs ; in their style and character they bore a wonderful 
resemblance to some of the highland pibrochs, and the 
sound of the instrument was not unlike that of our pipes, 
heard at a distance. 

Tliere is another instrument on which they play, which 
is constructed on a principle something similar to a 
Jew's-harp : it is made of a hollow and elastic cane, to 
which is attached, at one extremity, a small piece of a 
gourd, to the other a string, which they draw tight by 
means of the elastic stick, and placing it in the mouth, 
and before ihe teeth, produce a sound by the vibration 
of the air, giving more or less breath, according to the 
efi'ect which they wish to produce. Some of these tribes 

* Of this nation, there is a branch called Mina-po-p©. 


are tattooed on the arms, cheeks, &:c., like the North 
American Indians, or the savages of tlie Pacific Islands. 

While I was yet Mr. D.'s guest, a messenger arrived 
from his " ingenio" to announce to him ihat one of his 
negroes had hanged himself: on inquiry he proved to be 
a young man of the Lucumi tribe, mentioned No. 2. 
He had not been in the island above nine or ten monihs, 
and had never been punislied, nor had he complained of 
any ill-treatment. He committed this suicide under the 
circumstances which Mr. D. informs me usually accom- 
pany such an action among the negroes : he asked for 
his new suit of clothes, which happened to be due to him 
at this time, and put them on ; he then took his pig, iiis 
*' machete," (a kind of bill-hook with which they cut 
sugar-cane, wood, &c.,) and whatever little moveable 
properly he possessed, and galhermg it all into a heap 
under a tree, hung himself over it. This is doubtless 
owing to a superstition prevalent in his tribe, that in the 
world to which he was going, such articles would be 
useful to him. I have before noticed a belief, very similar 
to this, as common among some of the North American 

The following day I bade adieu with sincere regret 
to my aoreeable liost, and putting myself on board the 
" General Tacon" steamer, arrived in six hours at Havana. 
I found the whole mercantile population in great excite- 
ment. The prices of sugar had advanced with unex- 
ampled rapidity, and instead of 11^ and 15j reals per 
arrobe, they had risen in one week to 13^ for brown, 
and 17|- for white. One merchant of my acquaint- 
ance sold fifty boxes on the 12th of February for 19 
reals. Some speculators realized immense sums in 
a few days ; others again were afraid that the European 
demand would not warrant such extravagant prices, even 
under the favourable circumstances of a small crop in 
Jamaica, and a still smaller in Louisiana, Alabama, and 
other southern districts in the United States. 

It may not be uninteresting to some of my readers if 
I give an account of the management of a sugar estate 
in Cuba, with some additional particulars regarding the 
expenditure, produce, and profits. This information I 


am enabled to give with accuracy by the kindness of a 
proprietor, who showed me his books and explained the 
details to me on the spot. I have before mentioned that 
most of the nobility and wealthy proprietors on the island 
have several sugar estates and coffee plantations. In 
these cases the management is intrusted to a steward, 
called an " administrador," who makes a weekly return 
to his employer of the quantity of cane cut, the number 
of cart-loads brought in, the number of pans or loaves 
made and sold, the hogsheads of molasses extracted, 
together with a report of the health of the negroes and 
cattle. (A literal copy of one of these weekly returns 
will be found in the Appendix.) 

The best season for cutting and pressing the cane is 
in March or April, when it yields twenty per cent, more 
sugar than if cut in the winter; but generally the process 
of grinding cane continues in different part of the island, 
from the beginning of December until the end of May. 
The estates are divided into so many " canaverales," or 
cane-fields, each of which contains on an average, seven- 
teen acres. 

The " ingenio" which I am now about to describe, is 
worked by two hundred and seventy slaves, one hundred 
and seventy male, and one hundred female, exclusive of 
children ; it produces fifty-nine thousand five hundred 
arrobes, or three thousand five hundred boxes of sugar, 
calculating the box at seventeen arrobes. In 18:}f5 the 
average price was 113 real%; per arrobe for brown, and 17 
for white sugar, which gives a mean of 15 reals per ar- 
robe. A real is one-eighth of a dollar : thus the total 
revenue arising from the produce as above stated, will 
be 111,562 dollars. The anniiij expenditure on this 
" ingenio" is 24,000 dollars, i^Juding an ad valorem 
calculation of two per cent, for the loss of negroes, and 
four for that of cattle ; deducting this sum from the gross 
revenue abovementioned, there remains 87,562 dollars 
as the profit of the sugar on this "inoenio." There are 
also to be added one thousand Jiogsheads (bocoyas) of 
molasses at \2h dollars, and the profit of two dollars on 
the boxes allowed by the merchants to the growers : 
these additions bring the clear revenue of this estate, in 


1836, to 107,000 dollars,'or about 21,000/. sterling. As 
1 have before mentioned that some proprietors in ihe 
island make seven or eight thousand boxes of sugar, and. 
one or tv\o make ten thousand, the reader may form 
some opinion of the revenues accruing to them durin"- 
such years as 1836. 

Under these circumstances, the carnival was most 
gaily kept ; hearts were light and purses heavy, and as 
the governor had put a stop to the public gatiibling in 
the island, the overflowing spirits and pockets of the 
Cubans exhausted themselves in balls, masquerades, 
theatres, and every kind of show. Among these last 1 
went to see a bull-fight, which was given about a mile 
from the town ; it was an imitation of that so well known 
and so often described in Spam ; it had its " picadores," 
its " matador," and all the other ministers of torment 
and death to the unfortunate bull ; but the imitation w^as 
so bad, that nothing belonging to it is worthy of record ; 
two horses were killed and two men nearly so; the bulls 
were wild and alarmed, but not savage, and it required 
all the galling and provocation of barbed darts and fire- 
works 10 make them attack. The spectacle was nume- 
rously attended, as it had not been seen in Havana for 
two or three years; few women were present and no 

The musical world were all discontented at the ill- 
success of the Italian Opera, which was partly owing to 
accidents which could not be foreseen : two of the 
prima-donnas were confined to their bedrooms with bad 
colds ; and there was not one tenor or bass voice in the 
company qualified to take a first part.^'' As regards the 
ballet, the dancers could walk or run if required, but 
could not dance ! and thus all went wrong at the opera. 
I amused myself, on some of the evenings, in calling at 
the houses of my Spanish acquainiuice, and became a 
frequent guest at one of those little soirees, called here 
" teriullias." At one of these, the owner of the house 
was a complete pianist ; his daughter had a very fine 
voice, and sang wiih much feeling and taste : she was 
usually accompanied by a cousin, who sang a good bass ; 
and I passed many hours most agreeably in this house. 


Perhaps I am bound to add that the Senorita was very 
pretty and amiable, as well as musical. 

I now began to accustom myself to the Spanish ha- 
bits, and could offer or request a light for a cigar without 
being taken for a Boeotian.* I strolled lazily about the 
promenade of fashion, a kind of boulevards called the 
" Alameda ;" and in the evening, after sipping my sher- 
bet, and eating an ice in the Lonja, enjoyed my cigar in 
the Plaza de ArmaSj observing the assemblage collected 
from all parts of the earth, and the gay volantes passing 
and repassing, charged with sundry mantillas or dark, 
veils, from behind which a pair of lustrous eyes now and 
then ventured to emerge. This scene, under the influ- 
ence of a mild air, and a crescent moon, with the ad- 
dition of a military band of music, was certainly suf- 
ficient to drive all wintry associations from the mind. — 
During the day I entered into conversation with all per- 
sons, whether native or foreign, from whom I could 
glean any useful information respecting the commerce 
and statistics of the island: in this manner I became 
gradually mDre familiar with the language, and learnt to 
express myself, if not correctly, at least with sufficient 
fluency to be understood. 

The commerce carried on between this island and the 
United Slates has increased to an extraordinary extent 
within twenty years. In 1813-14, the yearly exports 
from the United States to all the Spanish islands did not 
amount to three million dollars ; and in 1833, their ex- 
ports to Cuba alone exceeded fifteen milhon dollars. — 
These consist chiefly of flour, beef, pork, dried fish, and 
lard ; besides a variety of domestic manufactures, such 
as hats, leather, soap, gunpowder, household furniture, 
&c. The exports from Cuba to the United States are 
chiefly sugar, coffee, and molasses ; of tliese the amount 
in llie same year (1833) was, of sugar, forty-eight mil- 
lion pounds ; of coffee, thirty-nine million pounds ; and 
of molasses, ten and a half million gallons. I do not find, 
in the official returns of that year, any statement of the 

* In this act of asking or giving a light for a cigar, a Havanese will 
at once recognize a countryman, a Mexican, an Anicrican, or an old 


qiianlity of tobacco exported to the United States ; but 
in the staistics of the island, published in 1830, the 
amount exported from Cuba was 606,000 pounds.* 

According to the census published in 1827, the popu- 
lation amounted to 704,493; of whom 811,051 were 
whites, 106,500 free (coloured), and 286,942 slaves; 
but it is probable that a considerable increase has taken 
place since that date. I have before mentioned, that the 
treaty made in 1817, for the abolition of slavery, came 
into operation in 1820 ; and it is a singular circumstance, 
that the value or price of an able-bodied negro is 20 or 25 
percent, lower than it was before the ratification of that 
treaty. Certainl}?', all a 'priori reasoning would lead to a 
conclusion directly opposite, as we should be inclined to 
suppose that in an island, the cultivation of which has 
been greatly extended, while the supply of negro labour 
has been limited, if not checked, by British cruisers, the 
price of slaves would have proportionably increased : as 
the reverse is the fact, it is to be feared that the exertions 
made for the suppression of the slave-trade, however 
strenuous and praiseworthy, have been hitherto almost 
ineffectual; neither can it be expected that they ever 
will be effectual, until it is considered and declared pi- 
racy by the great naval powers, and a force of cruisers 
maintained on the African coast, sufficient to destroy all 
the hopes and profits of those concerned in this inhuman 
traffic. If it could be thus checked for a few years it 
would, in a great measure, be destroyed ; for the negro 
chiefs, who now carry down to the sea-shore the unfor- 
tunate wretches whom they have kidnapped or taken in 
war, even from the most remote inland districts, would 
soon abandon that practice, when they found that there 
was no market for them ; and thus it is probable that 
ere long this stain upon humanity might be finally ef- 

At present the profits of this traffic are so high, that 
the speculators in it laugh at the means employed for its 
prevention. If they can bring one cargo out of every 
three safe into port, they can well afford to lose the re- 

* Estadistica de Espana, por M. de Jounes. Barcelona, 1835. 

Vol. IL— Q 


maining two ; and there is reason to fear, that, in defi- 
ance of the precautions hitherto adopted, at least iwo out 
of three reach their destination. Even when captured 
off the coast of Cuba, many abuses take place which the 
commissioners are unable to detector prevent; espe- 
cially in the case of those negroes who are intrusted or 
apprenticed to proprietors on the island. But this branch 
of the subject would lead me into details too minute for 
a work of this kind, which only pretends to narrate 
faithfully those particulars which came immediately un- 
der the writer's personal observation. I will therefore 
conchide it with one additional fact, too important to be 
omitted : i. e. during my residence in this part of the 
world, the value of an able-bodied negro in Louisiana, 
and the slave states of the United States, was about 
double that of the same individual in Cuba, being from 
450 to 500 dollars in the latter, and 900 or 1,000 dollars 
in the former. Can any one believe that the cupidity of 
Spanish slave-dealers on the one hand, and the specula- 
live enierprise of Americans on the other, will leave such 
a lucrative field for smuggling unimproved ? — or that, if 
the authorities at New Orleans and Charleston conscien- 
tiously prevent the importation of slaves, the mouths of 
the Rio del Norte, the Sabine, the Brasos, and other rivers 
flowing through Texas and the adjoining regions, do not 
afford ample opportunities for landing the human cargo, 
and thus transporting it across the frontier into the 
United States ? 

On the 14th and 15th of February I dined with the 
governor. His style of living was, like his manner, plain 
and unosteniatious.ji, The conversation was carried on 
exclusively in Spanish, and my imperfect knowledge of 
that language rendered me a scanty contributor to it. 
The topics canvassed were all on general subjects ; and 
I could not help observing, that the governor's aid-de- 
camps and officers spoke as freely and unrestrainedly as 
if lie had not been present. His character was such as 
to command respect, and he had too much real power to 
care about idle forms. After dinner he took me in his 
coach to see the new prison, which he was then con- 
structing. It is a plain solid Grecian building, of the 


Doric order, and capable of containing a great number of 
prisoners. It is built of stone throughout ; and, like the 
roads, the street-paving, and all the other public works 
in progress, is carried on at small expense ; because the 
workmen employed consist of runaway slaves, while ma- 
lefactors, and some bands of Carlist prisoners sent over 
from Spain. 

On the two evenings before alluded to, were masked 
balls, which I attended. They were much the same as 
those in New Orleans, or in J.ondon : they amuse a 
stranger for half an hour, and then become exceedingly- 
tiresome ; but, to one who knows a lovely face hidden 
behind an ugly mask, and a full fair figure beneath the 
uncouth bundle of clothes before him, there is, doubtless, 
much pleasure and excitement to be found, especially as 
chaperons and duennas are exposed to constant am- 
buslies, and words may be exchanged which would die 
on the lips were the mutual faces unmasked. Neverthe- 
less, it appears to me that the reign of Comus over the 
civilized world is nearly at an end. 

I saw many handsome women in the room, and an ex- 
clusive admirer of eyes might here have enjoyed a feast. 
There were also two or three very pretty young ladies 
from America, who had come to pass the winter. On 
hearing the monotony of the Spanish country dance in- 
terrupted by a French cotillon, I asked one of these to 
dance: we stood up, and I was astonished to seethe 
formality of the circle formed round our quadrille; but, 
fortunately for us, there was a larger set at the other end 
of the room, who occupied the attention of the greater 
part of the spectators. Astonishment was turned into 
horror, when I learned that the quadrille in Havana is 
considered a theatre for the display of capering : the 
spectators were ranged like infantry in line of battle, the 
front row kneeling or sitting, the middle standing, and the 
rear mounted on chairs, clapping the entrechats with the 
vehemence of a Drury-lane gallery. I cared nothing for 
myself, as I philosophically resolved to walk through the 
figure as quietly as if 1 were in London ; but I really felt 
for my partner, who, though a very pretty dancer, was 
too modest and feminine to approve of this exhibition. I 


saw, from the sudden changes of colour on her counte- 
nance, that &he was nervous and uncomforlable ; and I 
sincerely regretted having been unconsciously instru- 
mental in placing her in such a predicament. To add to 
the agtemens of our situation, we were so far from the 
music that we could not hear a note, nor a sound, except 
the hand-clappings which accompanied the " light fan- 
tastic toe" performances in the larger quadrille. I was 
very glad when it was over, and made a resolution not 
to be caught again by a cotillon in Havana. I can only 
hope that my fair partner bears no malice against me for 
my share in ihe transaction. 

The following day was my last in Havana, and I bade 
adieu to many in it with sincere regret. I embarked on 
board the sleam-boat to Matanzas, where the brig was 
lying which was to convey me and one or two of my 
friends to Charleston. She had not got in all her cargo ; 
so I found m3^self again for a couple of days the guest of 
Mr. S. D , who received me with the same kind- 
ness and hospitality as before. 

At length our brig's lading was completed, and we set 
sail for Charleston. I had to complain of being griev- 
ously cheated by the Spanish port officers, and was made 
to pay sixteen dollars for passports for myself and ser- 
vant. The two might have been included in one paper, 
and the proper charge was four dollars. Our little ves- 
sel, though deep in the water, was an excellent sea-boat, 
and she ran swiftly and safely through that difficult sea 
between the Bahamas and Florida, which, owing to 
strong and ever-varying currents, sudden storms, and hid- 
den reefs of rock, has caused the wreck of more craft 
than any other corner of old Ocean's tide. 

■ We met with neither trouble, storm, nor accident, un- 
til we were within fifteen miles of the bar off Charleston, 
when a kind of ominous fog came on, mixed with a cold 
drizzling sleet. As this cleared off, the whole heaven to 
windvvaid became covered with clouds as black as nighl, 
separated by long horizontal streaks of a blood-red hue. 
I never remember to have seen so wild a sky ; large sul- 
len drops of rain descended at irregular intervals, and a 
line of foam came driving over the vexed bosom of the 


deep. So threatening was the appearance of the comino- 
storm, that our captain took in every sliich of canvass 
leaving nothing but the ropes and masts to abide its fury. 
It came v^^ith a rushing whirling sound, as if it had only 
just burst from the cave of yEoIus, and for a few minutes 
all the rigging and spars seemed to creak, bow, and groan 
beneath iis force ; but the stout brig remained unhurt, 
the mingled rain and spray dashed over her low black 
sides, and a good ducking was the reward of those whose 
curiosity prompted them to appear on deck. The squall 
was of short duration, and was succeeded by the same 
cold wind and sleet which had preceded it; the fog con- 
tinued brooding over the sea, and no pilot came out to 
take us over the bar, which is situated in one of the most 
sinuous and dangerous channels of any harbour in Ame- 
rica. Our captain determined upon the bold measure of 
piloting her in himself, very properly judging that, if i.he 
fog thickened, or the wind rose again, he might be blown 
off shore, and, perhaps, have to remain two or three days 
more at sea. The event justified this decision ; he 
brought us safe into harbour. The succeeding night was 
very tempestuous, during which were several snorting 
squalls from the nonh-west, which might, had we been 
at sea, have driven us almost to Nassau. 

I had been but very few hours on shore when I met 
several old acquaintances, made during my tour in the 
north and east, and began very early to experience symp- 
toms of that warmth of hospitality for which Carolina is 
so celebrated. I found also a large packet of letters 
from home, in the charge of the British consul. J had 
received none for two or three months ; with what haste 
did I shut myself into my room, and devour the welcome 
contents ! Th^e wax was alt^^^ — death and disease had 
spared my paternal roof, and for more than an hour I en- 
joyed the luxury of intercourse with those most loved on 
earth, and felt deeply grateful to the merciful Being who '' 
had preserved them to me. 




Charleston. — Hospitality of the Inhabitants. — The Carolinian Charac- 
ter. — Change in the Law of Primogeniture. — Education. — College 
at West Point. — Republicanism of Charleston. — Tone of Society. — 
Saintly Newspaper Editors. — Sail for Norfolk. — Arrival there. — A 
Race. — Passage from Norfolk. — American Seamen. — Night Scene on 
board the Steamer. — Arrival at Washington. — Debates in Congress. 
— Diplomatic Dinners. — General Jackson. — Mr. Van Buren. — Me- 
diation of Great Britain between the United States and France. — 
Proceed to Baltimore. — Commerce of that City. — Philadelphia — its 
Society and Hospitality. — Route to New- York. — Indian Excitement. 
— Threatening Aspect of Indian Affairs. — American State Militia. — 
Streets of New York. — Dinner given by the St. George's Society. — 
Races on Long Island. — Visit to a Friend's Country Seat on the 
Banks of the Hudson. — Return to New York. 

I SHALL not attempt to ^ive a description of Charles- 
ton, which is nearly as well known to the civilized world 
as Bristol or Liverpool. Every one knows that it is a 
commercial city, situated on a point of land made by the 
junction of the rivers Ashley and Cooper ; its longitude 
being about 80® west, and its latitude about 33*^ north. 
Its population is probably about 35,000, of which one 
half is coloured. It contains no reaiarkable buildings, 
either as regards size or architecture, although there are 
many well-endowed public institutions, especially a li- 
brary and an orphan asylum, which do great credit to 
the liberality and charitable disposition of the citizens. 
The hotels are small and mean, the streets not so hand- 
some as those in other of the Atlantic cities, and the pri- 
vate houses, even of the wealthier planters, are smaller 
than would appear consistent with the gayety and hospi. 
tality which reigns within their w.iUs. In regard to the 
latter, I can only say, that during ihe twelve days which 
I spent in Charleston, I had a dinner invitation for every 
day, and I believe the same would have been the case 
had I remained another month. 

A gentleman must be very difficult to please if he does 


not find the Charleston society agreeable ; there is some- 
thing warm, frank, and courteous in the manner of a real 
Carohnian ; he is not studiously, but naturally, polite ; 
and, though his character may not be remarkable for ihat 
persevering industry and close attention to minutiae in 
business, which are so remarkable in the New England 
merchant, he is far from deficient in sagacity, courage, 
or enterprise. Altogether, with due allowance for ex- 
ceptions, I should say that the Carolinian character is 
more akin to that of England ; the New England, to that 
of the lowland Scotch. These affinities (supposing that 
I am justified in observing their existence) are by no 
means to be w^ondered at, if we consider the original ele- 
ments of which each of the colonies was formed, and the 
additions which they subsequently received from the 
mother country. Moreover, the southern colonists, who 
were mostly episcopalians, and many of them members 
of the oldest and noblest families in Britain, retained till 
very lately a predilection for institutions which were little 
regarded by their northern brethren., 

That which may be cited as most important and in- 
fluential in the formation of their character, was their 
habitual preference of an English collegiate education for 
their sons. Before the year 1770, almost every planter 
sent his boys to Oxford or Cambridge, where he had 
been himself educated ; the necessary consequence of 
this custom, was a partial adoption of the manners, tastes, 
and perhaps, too, the faults of the British youth of the 
higher classes. Hence, they imbibed a fondness for 
horses, and hunting, and other gay amusements, as well 
as a share of the light accomplishments of the day ; all 
of which tended to make them averse to the drudgery of 
business. This disinclination was increased by the na- 
ture of their property in Carolina, which, being culti- 
vated by slaves, imderthe inspection of a factor, left them 
little of the business of a proprietor, excepting the yearly 
or half yearly audit of accounts./ As 1 before said, there 
were many exceptions to these remarks : men who waged 
war in person with the ancient forest, and with their own 
hand, or under their own eye, planted, in its place, maize, 
rice, and cotton ; men who attained wealth by hardship 


and perseverence : but these instances, though not rare, 
formed the exception, not the rule, as may be gathered 
both from colonial history, and from the internal and more 
certain evidence of character above described. 

Since the declaration of independence, many causes 
have been in operation calculated to change ihe manners 
and character of the Carolinian ; but they have only par- 
tially effected this change, and a close and attentive ob- 
server can very plainly recognize in the quality of the 
stream the fountain whence ii flows. The most obvious 
change is that of education, for which it is no longer the 
fashion to select Oxford or Cambridge. Connected with 
this is the change which has taken place in the laws of 
succession to real estate ; these used to be conformed to 
the English law of primogeniture ; whereas now, a divi- 
sion of property among all the children takes place, and 
the planter, with his own portion of the paternal estate, 
can no longer send his sons to an English university; 
they are accordingly educated at some college near home, 
or more usually in the eastern states. My opinion of 
these, as compared with Oxford or Cambridge, would not 
be believed unprejudiced, even if it were entirely so ; let 
the science and scholarship of the young men whom 
they respectively send forth, decide the merits of each. I 
take it for granted, that, in respect to classics and pure 
mathematics, the Americans would not care to contest 
the point, because, from the limited attention which they 
bestow upon these studies, it cannot be expected that 
they should make the same progress as students who de- 
vole to them several years of intense labour, in order to 
take a first class or a wrangler's degree ; but whether 
they do not, at the different colleges in the United Slates, 
receive an education as well suited to the objects which 
they are destined to pursue in after life, is a different 
question. The best that I have seen is West Point ; that 
establishment has sent out many young officers well- 
grounded in the lower mathematics, and the other 
branches of science required in an engineer. 

To return to Charleston. This city affords a very sin- 
gular spectacle ; the planters are generally impoverished 
by the division of property ; they have lost many of their 


patrician notions, (call them, if you will, prejudices ;) the 
increased commerce has raised lo affluence, and conse- 
quently brought into fashionable society, many merchants 
with whom the planters would not associate on terms of 
intimacy fifty years ago ; and thus, while the society of 
Boston, Philadelphia, and New York, is daily becoming 
more exclusive and aristocratic, that of the Carolinian 
capital is becoming mo^e republican. 

The tone of society which here, as elsewhere, is under 
female control, struck me as being very agreeable : there 
is nothing in it of that formality or ostentation which I 
had been led to expect. The very noblest and wealthiest 
houses in London might take example, in one particular, 
from Charleston ; namely, in the refreshments offered at 
balls, and other evening parties. On these occasions, I 
have known many instances in the British metropolis 
where the dancers and other guests have been offered 
gooseberry champaign, vin-du-pays claret, Marsala sher- 
ry, and Cape madera; wfiile the other arrangements of 
the evening were conducted upon a scale of extravagant 
magnificence. A Charleston gentleman offers his guests 
as good wine at his supper as at his dinner-table. 1 know 
the excuse is ready, that the parties in London are so nu- 
merously attended, and upon such an immense scale, that 
similar arrangements would not be practicable there. 
1'his is but an excuse, and a lame one. If a gentleman 
cannot afford to give good champaign, let him give good 
sherry ; and if not that, good negus ; but no man's osten- 
tation should lead him to poison his friends.* 

I spent ten days most pleasantly in Charleston; and 
though some of the saintly newspaper editors wrote fu- 
rious tirades against the waltz, scarcely an evening pass- 
ed of which we did not spend a part in that charming 
importation from Germany. The vvrath of these con- 
sistent worthies amused me very much. To slander, 
vituperate, and, if possible, to ruin the character of a 
political opponent, is a matter of daily practice among 
them ; but a dance, the only impropriety of which is in 

* I made a similar observation during my visit to New Orleans, but 
it is tme, and will bear repetition. 

]90 A RACE. 

the mind of an improper thinker, is anathematized with- 
out mercy. Tliis subject is worn tljreadbare ; but no- 
where is it treated with less candour, or with more ex- 
aggeration than by a writer, whom I and all the world 
must concur in admiring for his pure English and amia- 
ble sentiments, in the " Skelch-book," and for the quaint 
description and satirical humour of " Knickerbocker." 

I parted with much reluctance from some of my fair 
partners in this condemned dance ; they were pretty, 
agreeable, and intelligent, and in one respect have an ad- 
vantage over most of their northern sisters (if the judge 
is to be a person accustomed to English society), — I 
mean as regards voice ; they have not that particular in- 
tonation and pronunciation which I had remarked else- 
where, and which must have struck every stranger who 
has visited the other Atlantic cities. 

There is one subject connected with Charleston on 
which I am afraid to venture, lest I be suspected of be- 
ing a confirmed gourmand — [ mean the madera ; which 
is so soft, so delicate, so fragrant, that one fancies it fit 
only for the fairy banquet of a Calypso, or an Armida, 
and to be poured forth by Hebe, and not by the good-hu- 
moured grinning, black Ganymede, in whose hands me- 
thinks I now see it before me. 

After a fortnight agreeably spent in the hospitalities 
of Charleston, I sailed for Norfolk, on board of the '* Po- 
cahontas ;" she was extremely crowded, and 1 was so for- 
tunate as to have in the midst of ihe confusion a few 
friends who were bound like myself for Baltimore via 
Norfolk. We were almost constantly in sight of land, 
but saw nothing of interest on the coast, which is low, 
flat, and sandy ; while the navigation is unpleasant to 
sailing-vessels from the nuinber of shoals and currents. 
We arrived without accident at Norfolk ; and as it was 
evident that the small and scant hotels in that town could 
not afford lodging to half our passengers, we all gather- 
ed to the side of the steamer, and prepared for a race as 
soon as we should be near enough to jump ashore. 

It happened that the best tavern (ilie same at which I 
had stayed the previous year) was nearly a mile from the 
wharf, and as it was a sweepstakes for all sizes, it pro^ 


mised excellent sport : some carried vveifrht In the form 
of a great-coat or cloak — these were soon " shut out ;" 
and ihe olher running-horses made play up the main 
street, to the astonishment of the quiet citizens, who 
stared and cleared the course. The stout and pursy 
competitors soon began to fall into the rear ; then 
followed those who had been the most successful at 
the late scramble for dinner, and had swallowed that 
meal in unreasonable quantity, and still more un- 
reasonable haste ! Although I by no means consider 
myself a good runner, it would be very hard if a man 
trained among the hills in Scotland, and having passed 
the last summer in the western prairies, could not be 
tolerably placed among such heavy cattle as T was now- 
opposed to : accordingly, I and a young friend who ac- 
companied me arrived first, and secured sleeping apart- 
ments, and then went out to see the remainder "come 
in." Some were distanced, others had *' broken down," 
and some had bolted and taken to smaller taverns by the 
\vay, which offered a tempting halt to panting and per- 
spiring travellers. 

I called upon my old acquaintance, the British consul, 
and was glad to find him and his family in good health. 
The town was little changed since I left it, and as I 
walked among houses and shops, every one of which I 
remembered, 1 could scarcely believe that I had been 
more than two or three weeks absent. 

In the morning, before the Charleston boat started, I 
paid a visit to a young lady, whose acquaintance I had 
made on my former tour, and whose beauty was known 
to every one in the town except herself. She had been 
in delicate health all the winter; and tliough her friends 
assured me it " was only a cough, and that she was now 
better," I could not help fearing that the most wnly and 
insidious of fiends, consumption, already lurked beneath 
the hectic flush on those soft cheeks, and the loo lustrous 
beaming of those deep blue eyes. T know nothing more 
painfully interesting than to witness this silent and un- 
conscii us withering of the fairest flower in the garden 
of beauty, for it is generally upon such that he lays his 
deadly grasp, adorning his victim at the same time with 
graces, more delicate than are usually bestowed upon the 


votaries of health, and strewing the cheek with roses, 
while he is poisoning the secret springs of hfe within. 
Most sincerely do I hope that I may have erred in ap- 
plying these remarks to the amiable being who suggested 

The passage from Norfolk to Baltimore was yet more 
unpleasant than that of the preceding day, and the steam- 
boat more crowded. There were neither berths nor even 
mattresses to be had, and the dinner-table was laid and 
cleared twice before any person could procure a meal 
who did not choose to risk a torn coat and bruised shoul- 
ders. The only amusement was on tbe upper deck, 
where one or two hundred seamen, fresh from a man-of- 
war, lately paid off, were dancing, shouting, drinking, 
and frolicking with all the uncouth merriment peculiar to 
these Tritons, when newly released from restraint and 
discipline. However, I must say that the American 
sailors, although they handle a ship and a thirty-two 
pounder as well as any seamen in the world, do not dance 
as well as the British tars. Philosophers may inquire 
into the cause, and possibly (as it does sometimes hap- 
pen) before they have ascertained it, the facts may be 

When the night set in it was most amusing to see the 
various expedients for slumber to which the passengers 
had recourse ; in the fore-cabin, where I and my com- 
panions had engaged berths, we found two or three 
drunken sailors in each ; and the steward fairly told us 
that the ship's company was much too feeble to attempt to 
dislodge tliem. I saw the truth of this, and as my mat- 
tress was an unattainable blessing, 1 contrived to extract 
my pillow from below two or three drowsy, shaggy, and 
growling heads, and marched off with it in triumph. 
On reaching the after-cabin I found the berths there all 
full, the tables strewed with sleepers, and the floor so 
crowded that Cinderella herself could not have stepped 
over its tenants without treading on arms, legs, and 
noses. I found a young man with whom I was slightly ac- 
quainted, roaring lustily from his berth for a pillow, say- 
ing that he could not sleep without one. As I still held 
my prize under my arm, I called out to him that I would 



loss up with him whether I should give him my pillow 
or he give me his mattress. He agreed : I won ; so I 
hauled the mattress upon deck, sat down upon it, 
lighted my cigar, and by the smoky light of a lamp, be- 
gan to play ecarte with a young friend from New York, 
The weather became intensely cold; and after playing 
half the night, I betook myself to my plaid, he to his 
cloak, and we tried to sleep. In the morning we found 
that it was a hard frost, and a brisk norlli-wester had 
been flirting with our ears and neck towards the dawn ; 
this freak cost me a cold and a stiff neck for forty-eight 

I proceeded immediately to Washington, and with 
great pleasure found myself once more under the same 
roof with my old companions, friends, and countrymen 
in the British legation. 

I remained here about ten days enjoying the society of 
many esteemed and valued acquaintance, attending also, 
occasionally, the debates in congress. In these last, 
there was nothing at the time under discussion which 
possessed much general interest, neither did I hear any 
great efforts of any of the more eminent speakers ; but I 
was confirmed in my opinion of the preceding session, 
namely, that the general lone of manner, eloquence, and 
debate, is beyond all comparison more gentlemanly, as 
well as more business-like, in the Senate than in the 
House of Representatives. In the circle of my own 
friends (for it is gratifying to me to believe that in Wash- 
ington I had and have friends whom I most highly re- 
gard), the hand of the Destroyer had been more than 
once lifted up during my absence ; the scenes of former 
social mirth were now houses of mourning ; and, though 
balls and evening parties still went gaily on, and were 
adorned by new and attractive faces, 1 missed some of 
those which had been most familiar to me, and their ab- 
sence dulled my enjoyment of the passing festivities. 

As an admirer, however, of good cheer, I had arrived 
at a most auspicious period, for the new British Minister 
had just made his first appearance, and I was invited to 
the diplomatic dinners which were given to him on his 
arrival by the President, the Vice-Piesident, the Secra- 

VoL. II.— R 


taries of Slate, &c. Gen. Jackson appeared to me 
much more infirm than when I had last seen him ; a ten- 
dency of blood to the head which obliges him to have 
frequent recourse to the cups and the lancet, had doubt- 
less contributed to reduce and enfeeble his system. The 
Vice-President I found as agreeable as ever ; and what- 
ever opinion I or others may entertain of the general 
conduct of his supporters and the measures pursued by 
his parly, no man who is acquainted with Mr. Van 
Buren can fail to discover that he is a shrewd and able 
statesman, and a well-read and well-informed man, 
whose manner is polite, and whose conversation is both 
amusing and instructive. I confess also that there was 
something gratifying to me in the language which he al- 
ways used when speaking of Britain. He seems to 
have been treated in London with kindness and distinc- 
tion, and to feel grateful for attentions which were indeed 
due to his accomplishments, as well as to the diplomatic 
station which he held.* 

I was much pleased with the light in which all the 
more liberal and enlightened Americans viewed the me- 
diation of Great Britain between the United States and 
France in their late dispute and threatened war: the 
manner in which it was offered was doubtless honoura- 
ble to Great Britain ; nor was the manner in v^'liich it 
was received and acknowledged less creditable to the 
United Slates government. 

As to France, she may explain and comment upon the 
transaction as she pleases ; but to any disinterested spec- 
tator, her conduct throughout appears weak and shuf- 
fling. If she was insulted by the President's message 
of 1834, she ought to have gone to war at once (and 
most faial would it have been to the interest of the Uni- 
ted Stales had she dune so); but, after withholding for a 
year the payment of money which she had acknowledged 

* Since the text was written, Mr. Van Buren has become President 
of the United States. Many other political changeshave occurred, but 
I have left my journal exactly as it originally stood. In a narrative 
of this kind, I prefer relating faithfully the impression produced on 
my mind at the time, to giving an opinion formed upon subsequent oc- 


to be due, and demanding an apology for insulting or 
threatening language used by the President; after call- 
ing back her own corps diplomatique and dismissing that 
of the United States ; she gave up at once all the points 
which touched either her honour or her avarice, and agreed 
to pay the required indemnities on receiving the Presi- 
dent's message of 1835, which repeated the spirit and 
tenour of his former language, with the addition, " that 
he would not tarnish his own or his country's honour by 
offering either explanation or apology." 

Did the bigotted sovereign who was driven by force 
from the throne of France, ever dare so to humble her in 
the eyes of the world ? Nations, like individuals, should 
follow old Polonius's advice. 

** Beware of entering into quarrel, but, being in, 
Bear it that the opposer may beware of thee !" 

From Washington, I proceeded to Baltimore, by the 
railroad, which is as rough and ill-constructed as any I 
ever travelled upon ; the distance is about forty-five 
miles, and we were considerably more than four hours 
in performing it. In this thriving and admirably situated 
town, I passed a few days very agreeably. I went to a 
few small parties, and saw some specimens of the beauty 
for which it is so justly celebrated ; but the beautiful 
vision which I had seen the year before, at Tam o'Shan- 
ter's exhibition, and which still lived in my thoughts, 
never blessed my eyes again. 

The mania of speculation which has prevailed to such 
unparralleled extent in New York, Chicago, (fee, has 
not yet reached this city, and the price of land seems to 
me as unaccountably low here as it is absurdly high else- 
where. The commerce of Baltimore is great ; it is the 
most central and the nearest of all the Atlantic cities to 
the great marts of western produce, and is the nucleus 
of almost all the railroads in the United States. Unless 
I am much mistaken, building lots in Baltimore will rise 
nearly a hundred per cent, in the course of the next five 
years : there is a chance for the speculators — but they 
must be Americans, as the laws of Maryland prohibit 
aliens from holding and inheriting real estate. Such re 


gulalions may be wise, but I have yet to learn wherein 
iheir wisdom consists, when applied to a country which 
wants DO elements of wealth and prosperity, but popula- 
tion and capiial. 

From hence I went to Philadelphia, which has always 
been my favourite of all the American cities : there is 
here more quiet and leisure, more symptoms of comfort, 
than elsewhere. It contained many of my friends, and, 
in the beauty of its women, it yields to no place that it 
has yet been my lot to visit. With this I feasted my 
eye. My ear was entranced by the very sweetest and 
most powerful harpist whose fingers e^er swept the 
chords. Madera poured forth for me her thousand 
choicest vintages, and every culinary temptation, from 
the rich Pennsylvania butler to the luscious terrapin, 
wooed my stay. Moreover, I had made the acquaint- 
ance of several literary men, whose conversation was 
most agreeable ; among others, the venerable M. Dupon- 
geau, whose name is well known to Europe^s literati, and 
who is deeply versed in a subject to which I have given 
some little attention, namely, the dialects, construction, 
&;c., of the various Indian languages. However, as my 
time pressed, I determined to be blind to beauty, deaf to 
the harp, and insensible to all other temptations. Ac- 
cordingly, at the end of a week I continued my route to 
New York, not without some difficulty and regret. Here 
again, I found myself among old acquaintances, many 
of whom thought that I had gone back to Europe a year 
ago, others that I had been scalped by the Pawnees. In- 
deed, it was most fortunate that I returned from those 
treacherous Indians in the autumn, for they thought pro- 
per this spring to join themselves to the Camanches, a 
numerous and warlike tribe in the south-west, in con- 
junction with whom, and upon some slight provocation, 
they attacked a small trading station called Coffee Fort 
(garrisoned by about sixty men), which they took, and 
killed all the garrison except one ! Had the Seminole 
war and the other causes of Indian excitement, occurred 
while I was in the West, it is probable that I and all 
other whites, who were in their power at the time, would 
have been destroyed. Indeed, Indian affairs in general 


began now to wear a very threatening aspect. The war- 
belt has passed in secret from the Seininoles to many 
northern and western tribes. The American army was 
too feeble in number to protect one quarter of the fron- 
tier; and although the government proposed to increase 
it to ten or twelve thousand, it would siill be totally in- 
sufficient, unless some of the stale militias are called 
out. These bodies of men are (except in defending their 
own home) always more troublesome and expensive, and 
less efficient, than regular troops ; and the raising such a 
force must be a very great inconvenience in the western 
states, where every man's labour is required on his farm 
or settlement. 

The weather in New York at this season (the latter 
end of April) was extremely changeable; and as the 
streets had not been cleaned since the winter, we expe- 
rienced the most agreeable alterations of dust and mud 
that I ever remember to have seen. Indeed it would be 
ne exagojeration to affirm, that the principal streets were 
more filthy and more impassable from clouds of dust, 
than the worst alleys and by-streets in Glasgow or Man- 

On St. George's day we had a great dinner, given by 
the St. George's Society, a benevolent and charitable in- 
stitution which assists destitute Englishmen who find 
themselves without friends or money m this city. The 
company at dinner consisted of a hundred and fifty or two 
hundred persons, including many of the most respectable 
gentlemen in New York. The dinner, wines, and music, 
were good; and the toasts were all thoroughly English, 
and given with Eriglish feeling; nor do I believe that 
King William's health was ever drunk at the Thatched 
House or London Tavern with such unbounded, up- 
roarious, and long-continued cheers, as at this trans- 
atlantic meeting. My blood warmed, and my spirit was 
stirred at hearing the names, the sentiments, the songs, 
associated with my youth and childhood, " familiar in 
men's mouths" so many thousand miles from home ; 
and I felt pleasure in hearing from many sons of Britain 
present, that, though their lot, with that of their wives, 
brethren, and children, is now cast in this western con- 


tinent, they look back with affection upon iheir parent— 
with reverence upon her institutions, and upon her glories 
with pride. Long may the feeling be cherished — widely 
may it be spread — and never may any temporary causes 
of disagreement again make the nations forget their 
identity of language and blood ! 

During the first week in May, I went down one day 
to the races on Long Island. The running was not re- 
markable in point of time, but a trotting match between 
three first-rate horses made ample amends ; it was ad- 
mirably contested, and the speed exceeded anything 
which I had ever seen : the winner, *' Flying Dutchman," 
performed his first two miles in five minutes eighteen 
seconds ; his second, in five minutes seventeen seconds, 
in harness ! The second horse was not more than a few 
lengths behind. 

About this time 1 went up the Hudson River to pay 
a visit to a friend at his country seat, called Danskamer, 
on the western bank of the river. It is a most beautiful 
situation, elevated about two hundred feet above the 
water; the grounds are undulating and varied. A new 
house was in progress which promised to be one of the 
best country-houses in America, being built of solid 
stone ; the ornamental parts, as the columns, pediments, 
&c., of the portico, were of granite. The site commands 
a beautiful view of the Hudson, covered with hundreds 
of boats and sloops, bearing the produce of the different 
farms and villages down to New York ; beyond is the 
gentle and hicrhly cultivated slope of Duchess County, 
while the back-ground is filled with the outline of the 
highlands stretching eastvvard into Connecticut. I found 
that much attention was here paid to agriculture and to 
sheep ; of the latter a great many were of the Merino 
and Saxon breeds, as the sale of wool has lately become 
the object of much lucrative speculation in New York. 

After a few days spent in these agreeable country 
quarters, I returned to that city. 



Institutions and Society in the United States. — Importance of the 
Labouring Class. — Non-existence of Pauperism. — State of Crime. — 
Education. — Political Institutions of America. — Slavery in the United 
States. — Contradiction in the Theory of American Government. — 
Expedient for the gradual Extinction of Slavery. — Its Non-efficiency. 
— State of Religion in America. — The Voluntary System. — Religious 
Sects. — American Society. — Education. — Style of Oratory in Con- 
gress. — Officers of the Army and Navy. — American Ladies. — Intona- 
tion of Voice. — Academies. — Independent Manner and Opinion of 
American Ladies. — Marriage. — National Vanity. 

During my stay in New York, I occupied myself in 
collecting and compiling the rough notes which I had 
from time to time sketched of the leading features that 
mark the character of the institutions and society in the 
United States. It is with much diffidence that I now 
lay them before the reader, being well aware that in the 
course of my rambles I have devoted too much lime to 
pleasure, and have too often culled the flowers of amuse- 
ment when I ought to have been engaged in gathering 
the fruits of useful information. There is one considera- 
tion, however, which materially diminishes my unwilling- 
ness to enter upon a subject so full of difficulties ; and it 
is, that, after a serious and unsparing self-examination, I 
can conscientiously affirm^ that I came to the United 
States without prejudice or predisposition of any kind, 
and have formed my judgment from what I have seen, 
and jiot from anything ihat I have read. 

In examining the structure of society in any country, 
it would seem natural locotnmence with that class which 
forms its basement or foundation. If such be the pro- 
per course in examining the condition of other countries, 
more especially must it be so in America, where the 
operative or labouring class is possessed of privileges and 
power so great as to render it, in fact, master both of 
the government and of the constitution. I am well 


aware that the phrase--" labouring class" is distasteful in 
the United Slates to those to whom it is applied ; but 
that is of little consequence, so long as the reader un- 
derstands that I use it in reference to all labourers and 
artizans, and to those in general who earn their daily 
bread by the sweat of their brow. It is this class, this 
broad basis of society, which strikes the traveller in 
America with the greatest surprise and admiration, and 
of which the native American may be justly proud. — 
Pauperism, that gaunt and hideous spectre, which has 
extended its desolating march over Asia and Europe, 
destroying its victims by thousands, even in the midst of 
luxury and wealth, has never yet carried its ravages into 
the United States : this is a blessing of which it is to be 
feared few appreciate the magnitude, and which is, of 
itself, a preponderating weight in the balance of national 

Among the thousands and tens of thousands whom 
the tide of emigration annually pours into the Atlantic 
seaports, and many of whom arrive without money or 
friends, or health, or skill wherewith to procure subsis- 
tence, great numbers suffer the extremities of hardship 
and want, especially in the neighbourhood of the towns 
where they are set ashore ; but these cases can have no 
reference whatever to the internal condition of the Uni- 
ted States ; and it is a fact no less surprising than pleas- 
ing to record, that, during two years spent in travelling 
through every part of the Union, I have only once been 
asked for alms, and that once was by a female who was 
very unwell, and who, although decently dressed, told 
me that she w^anted a bit of money to buy some food.i.«| 

The labouring class are fully aware of their own 
power in the stale, and have, more ihan once, formed 
themselves into associations, under the expressive but 
plebeian, name of " Workies," which have proved ex- 
tremely unmanageable in endeavouring to force an in- 
crease of wages, and in similar infractions of the pri- 
vileges of other classes in the community. 

It will be seen from the foregoing observations, that 
crime ought to be of comparatively rare occurrence in 
the United States, as the two chief incentives to its com- 


mission, i. e. want of food, and want of employment, are 
almost unknown. Nevertheless, here as elsewhere, hu- 
man nature displays its innate predisposition to vice, and 
I do not find that the proportion of the latter, if esti- 
mated upon the census of population, is much less llian 
in Great Britain. There is, however, another circum- 
stance which has a gradual, and I trust, a certain tenden- 
cy to diffuse an improved morality throughout the 
Union ; I refer to the advantages of education enjoyed 
by the, children of the poorest class in every inhabited 
part of the country. 

If a practical statesman was required to point out two 
principal a priori tests <3f the permanent prosperity of a 
nation, I think he could scarcely select any preferable to 
those here adduced : — first, that every adult should be 
able to read and write; secondly, that every able-bodied 
man willing to work should find employment, at a rate 
of wages sufficient to insure him tlie necessaries and 
conveniences of life. Both these propositions, allowing 
for the exceptions necessarily incidental to any broad 
political statement, may be generally affirmed in respect 
to the United Stales. 

Having thus briefly adverted to the great advantages 
enjoyed by the labouring classes in the Union, it seems 
proper to inquire how far they are connected with or 
derived from the political institutions of the country. — 
Here it is that the admirers of democracy, Europeans 
as well as Americans, have fallen into the error of beg- 
ging the whole question at issue : they have argued that 
because America under these institutions has advanced 
more rapidly than any other country, in commerce, in 
wealth, in population, and in every element of national 
prosperity, that, therefore, they must be in themselves 
the wisest and most suitable to be adopted by other na- 
tions in the civilized world. It w^ould be just as logical 
reasoning were I to infer, because I had never found 
my bodily health and strength more complete than du- 
ring my stay among ^the Pawnees, when I was overfed 
one day with several pounds of half-dressed meat, and 
perhaps on the next, had no food at all, and scarcely a 
draught of water, that, therefore, such a diet would 


be advisable for a person residing in New York or 

In this latter case it is obvious, that the health I en- 
joyed was owing, not to the diet, but to constant ex- 
posure in pure air, and to the severe exercise and excite- 
ment which rendered the system able to gain strength 
under any diet whaiever. Just as clear is it, that the 
prosperity of America is not to be attributed solely to 
her political institutions, but to the circumstances under 
which they have operated, which are briefly these : a 
people, emigrating from the most enlightened and en- 
terprising nation in Europe, obtained possession of a 
territory boundless in extent, unequalled in variety and 
fertility of soil, and watered by lakes and navigable 
rivers, such as are known in no other part of the world. 
Separated by an ocean from the hostilities and territorial 
jealousies of other civilized nations, they have ample 
leisure and opportunity for the uninterrupted develope- 
ment of their immense natural resources : under such 
circumstances, unexampled in the previous history of the 
world, population and wealth must for a length of time 
advance, without any aid whatever from peculiar insti- 
tutions or forms of government. 

It must not be supposed that I intend, from the pre- 
ceding observations, to draw any argument against de- 
mocracy ; were I to do so, I should fall into the error 
that I have been endeavouring to expose. A republican 
form of government may he the best and most faultless 
that human wisdom can devise; my present purpose is 
only to show that such a proposition cannot be affirmed 
and inferred from the general prosperity of the United 

* Since my journal was written, M. De Tocqueville's valuable work 
has been published. That distinguished author has so completely ex- 
hausted the subject of the political institutions of the United States, in 
respect of facts and details, that they must be familiar to every general 
reader; I have, accordingly, omitted the notes which I had prepared 
during my travels, relative to the same subject-matter; as I am con- 
scious that they could add nothing to the stock of information already 
before the public. I limit the above observation to " facts and details," 
because I am not prepared to say that I can always assent to the prin- 
ciples upon which M. De Tocqueville has based his propositions, or to 


While considering the condition of tlie labouring class, 
it is impossible to onnit all mention of that extensive 
branch of the productive industry of the Union, included 
under the head of slaves. It is true that they are de- 
nied the rights and privileges of citizens; nevertheless, 
their number (amounting to upwards of two millions 
scattered through twelve southern and western states) 
renders them too important to be omitted in any faithful 
sketch, however slight, of the moral and political condi- 
tion of the United States. I wish I could pass it over, 
for no subject can be more disagreeable or more painful 
to reflect and comment upon, than the continuance of 
slavery in this country, which boasts of being the most 
free and enlightened upon earth. 

The first proposition of the celebrated Declaration of 
Independence, the foundation of the United Slates Con- 
stitution, declares that " all men are created equal, and 
that among their inalienable rights are life, liberti/, and 
the pursuit of happiness." The first assertion, namely, 
the equality of man, is true, in comparing mankind with 
the Creator ; and the second proposition, regarding the 
inalienable rights of persons, is also undeniably true ; yet 
both these fundamental axioms are directly contradicted 
by the practice of half the states in the Union, whereby 
two millions of their fellow-creatures are debarred of 
every right above declared inalienable ; and so far from 
being considered as equals, are treated and esteemed as 
domestic cattle in the slave states ; and if they have by 
any accident acquired their liberty and wandered into 
New Yoik, or other of the free states, the curse of their 
colour still clings to them ; and not only are the doors of 
liberal employment and society closed against them, but 
even in the theatres, churches, and other places of public 
resort, they find themselves separated, as if by a leprosy, 
from their fellow-creatures. 

This foul stain upon the honour, humanity, and jus- 
tice of the United Slates cannot long continue; the dis- 

the conclusions that he may afterward have evolved from them. Such 
an argument would be misplaced in a narrative like the present, even if 
I felt equal (which I do not) to enter the lists with so powerful an an- 
tacronist. — 1839. 


ease is deeply rooted, its ramifications extend even to 
the vitals of the body-politic, and the remedies to be ap^ 
plied are proporiionably difficult and dangerous ; but 
they must be applied, and that too at no distant date, or 
the gangrene will have spread beyond the reach of 

I am well aware of the topics urged by the slave- 
holders in their defence : they argue, that " slavery is a 
system not introduced by them, but handed down to 
them by their British ancestors ;" that " the property 
therein is a 'vested right;'" that "the crops of cotton, su- 
gar, and rice, could be raised by no other kind of labour;" 
that " the slaves are belter fed and taken care of than 
many of the free labourers in Europe ," and, lastly, that 
" the amount of capital invested in slaves is so enormous, 
that a general act of emancipation would bring general 
ruin upon the southern stales." All these arguments 
are plausible, and some of ihem difficult to gainsay. It 
is certain that, although they cannot be allowed to out- 
weigh the obligations imposed by the laws of God and 
man, ihey are of sufficient force to entitle them to serious 
and patient investigation. 

Various are the expedients which have been devised 
for liberating the Union from this depressing and demo- 
ralizing infliction, all of them, of course, liable to one or 
other of the above objections. Tiie only proposal (of 
which J am aware) that has ever assumed a definite 
shape before the legislature, was that made by Mr. King 
in the senate (1825), which was honoured by the appro- 
bation of the highest legal authority recognized in the 
United Stales, namely, Chief Justice Marshall, who was 
not only the most eminent judge that has sat on the 
American bench, but was himself a citizen of the slave- 
holding state of Virginia, and therefore completely mas- 
ter of the subject. 

I'he purport of this proposal, embodied in the form of 
a resolution, was, that as soon as that portion of the fund- 
ed debt of the United States for the payment of which 
the public land was pledged, should be paid off, tlie 
whole remaining public land, with the moneys arising 
from future sales thereof, should form a fund for thegra- 


dual extinction of slavery, by the purchase and emanci- 
pation of slaves, their removal to olher regions, &c. 

This proposal was declared by Chief Justice Marshall, 
to be " the most unexceptionable and effective that could 
be devised." Without presuming to offer any opinion 
on the subject, I think it may be reasonably asked, why 
(since the funded debt secured on the public land has 
been liquidated) has the above proposal never been re- 
vived nor discussed ? 

The above observations on the abolition of slavery, 
seem naturally to lead to a short consideration of the state 
of religion in America. This is a subject on which it 
is very difficult to lay before the reader an accurate or 
satisfaciory statement, because, in the first place, it can- 
not be embraced by fiscal or statistic returns, and in the 
second place, it varies exceedingly in different parts of 
the Union. I must confess, however, that, upon the 
whole, I have been disappointed in the religious aspect 
of the United States. Tiiere certainly never existed a 
country so favourably circumstanced for the growth and 
prosperity of Christianiiy ; the complete toleration of all 
creeds : the general ease and pecuniary comforts of the 
people ; the diffusion of education and knowledge among 
the labouring classes ; the distribution of the inhabitants 
over an ample extent of terniory, in place of their being 
collected and huddled together in myriads and millions, as 
in the nianufacturing districts of England ; all these ad- 
vantages, great as they must be admitted to be, are neu- 
tralized by the pernicious influence of the " voluntary" 
system. There is no part of America where sufficient 
provision is made for the religious instruction of the peo- 
ple, or for the maintenance of a well-educated clergy; 
some districts are much better provided than others, but 
in all it is changeable and uncertain. 

The fact is, that our republican brethren have carried 
their dislike of an alliance between church and stale to 
such a height, that they have hurried into the opposite 
extreme ; and while they admit that religion, as the 
basis of all sound morality, is essential to the well-being 
of a state, they have most unaccountably left it to chance 
or to the popular whiai of the day, whether it shall be 

Vol. II.— S 


fostered and encouraged, or neglected altogether. 1 re- 
member to have seen a passage in the Quarterly Re- 
yiew, in whicli tlie absurdity of applying to morals the 
principles of free trade and of the reciprocity of supply 
and demand, was not badly illustrated by the following 
question : — " It is true, that the more hungry or starved 
a man is, the more he will call for bread ; but does it 
thence follow, that the more wicked and ungodly he is, 
the louder will be his cry for religious instruction ?"* 

The practical evils resulting from the voluntary sys- 
tem, as exemplified in America, appear to me to be the 
following : — 

1st. — The dependence of the clergyman on the ca- 
prices of his congregation for his subsistence, so that he 
must either sacrifice his daily bread, or refrain from con- 
scientiously preaching to them unpalatable truths. 

2dly. — x\nd connected with the former, is the insuffi- 
cient income usually accruing to Chri.stian ministers from 
their labours : the average remuneration does not repay 
the trouble and expense of a proper clerical education, 
and (setting aside the enjoyments and luxuries of life) 
does not afford the means of bringing up a family in de- 
cent independence. 

3dly. — It has given rise to a variety of sects without 
end, some of them the most absurd, others the most extra- 
vagant, that have hitherto appeared in the civilized world; 
and as nothing is so gratifying to ignorant pride as this 
right of " choosing its own religion," so is it exercised 
w^ith the most thoughtless indiscretion, and those who 
ought to go to church to learn the doctrines and rules of 
faith, do actually goto censure and criticise the preacher. 

Were I to pursue this subject farther, it would lead 
me into a discussion which ought not to be introduced 
into a work of this kind ; I will therefore add only one 
other observation, namely, that if the voluntary system, 
as exemplified in the United States, is now insnfl^cient 
for the support of religion, its insufficiency will be more 

* The above is quotej from memory, and there may be an alteration 
or omission of a word, but I am confident of the general accuracy of 
the quotation. 


and more evidently shown as population increases, and 
with it the number of poor, who, though unable to con- 
tribute, will be entitled to expect iis benefits and conso- 
lations ; how these are to be accommodated, when the 
pew rents do not even answer the present demand, re- 
mains to be proved hereafter. 

Of the different relis^ious sects, ihe most numerous is, 
probably, that of the Baptists, subdivided into minor de- 
nominations too unimportant to require notice. Next to 
them are the Wesleyans. These two sects number in 
their ranks almost half the population of the Union. Next 
to these are the Presbyterians and Independents, or 
CongregationaHsts. The Episcopalians and Roman Ca- 
tholics (exclusive of the coloured population) are about 
equal in number; but the latter are increasing more ra- 
pidly, especially in the western states. Certainly, there 
are two quahties which distinguish the Homan Catholic 
religion beyond any other, and those are, first, the plastic 
readiness with which it adapts itself to the circumstances, 
habits, and political opinions of mankind; so that, al- 
though it has been for centuries, in Europe, the most 
powerful engine in the hands of despotism, its tendency 
seems in America to gather beneath its banner the most 
democratic republicans. The second quality above re- 
ferred to, is no less remarkable ; namely, the zeal and 
enterprise with which it inspires its priests to toil, travel, 
and endure every kind of hardship in spreading its doc- 
trines and gaining converts. In this labour, especially 
among the negroes and Indians, they put to shame the 
zeal and exertions of all other Chris'tian sects ; nor do 
they labour without effect. During my slay in Missouri, 
I observed that the Romish faith was gaining ground 
with a rapidity that outstripped all competition. 

Besides the sects above mentioned, there are a numer- 
ous body of Universalists, subdivided into Mennonites, 
Tunkers, and Shakers; and also the Mormonites and 
other fanatics, whose extravagant tenets and disgraceful 
immorality of practice render them undeserving of the 
name of sectarians. 

Having given this imperfect sketch of the religious 
condition of the United Slates, I proceed to make a few 


observations on the tone and leading characteristics of 
American society. This is a task much more difficult 
for a hritish traveller to perform with accuracy and im- 
partiality, than to delineate the same subject in any otlier 
country in the world. Minute shades of difference are 
apt either to escape observation or to offend some preju- 
dice, whereas, manners altogether new and distinct, are 
in some degree pleasing from their novelty, and are 
easily represented to the reader. 

As the Athenians used the same expression to desig- 
nate " foreigners" and " barbarians," so are the English 
very apt (especially in reference to America) to designate 
as "vulgar*' all that differs from the usage of polite cir- 
cles in London. One instance, out of a thousand that 
might be adduced, will suffice to illustrate this point. 
An author who certainly has the merit of ability, and who 
claims that of impartiality, in commenting upon the 
custom frequently observed at an American breakfast- 
table, of eating an e^g out of a glass, instead of eating it 
out of the shell, calls it ** a nasty and disgusting prac- 
tice."* I never ate an egg thus, neither is it a mode to 
which I am partial ; but surely such expressions as ihe 
above are altogether misplaced, in describing a custom 
which is, indeed, unusual in England, but by no means 
deserving of epithets so coarse. 

There is another cause beside the one aboye assigned, 
for the difficulty experienced by a traveller in faiihfully 
depicting tlie manners of the upper class of society ia 
the Uniied Slates, which is, thai the said societv is com- 
posed of individuals who meet indeed at Washington, 
and at the watering-places in summer, but who come 
from countries and climates as distant and different as 
London from Rome. There are many features of char- 
acter in which a Carolinian planter bears as much re- 
semblance to a Boston or Salem merchant, as a Spanish 
grandee does to a Flemish bur2;omasler. I trust, there- 
fore, that the reader (whether English or American) will 
bear in mitjd, that, although the observations which I 
hazard upon society in the United States are as generally 

♦ Men and Manners in America, vol. i. p. 25. 


faithful as I can make them, the number of exceptions 
must, for the above reasons, be very great. 

The education of young men in America is not usually 
such as to give them a taste for ihe fine arts, or for clas- 
sical literature. The course of study adopted is too ex- 
tensive, and embraces a field which it would require 
many years to cultivate, even to produce a moderate pro- 
ficiency : the result is what might be expected, that, al- 
though the American colleges can now boast of the 
names of many professors of deserved celebrity, the 
young men who have been educaied at them come forth 
into the world with a considerable quaniiry of superficial 
attainment, but not with that deep-laid foundation of 
knowledge which can resist the business and dissipation 
of life. The number of well-read scholars in America 
is very limited. I know not whether I should have 
noticed the circumstance, had not my attention been 
called to it by the puerile vanity, which leads so many 
of their speakers and periodical writers to introduce stale 
quotations from the J^atin authors. 

It may be urged in answer, that a classical education, 
such as is giveii at the English universities, is not de- 
sirable in x^merica. That may be true ; but it does not 
meet my objection, which is, that the course pursued is 
calculated to give a smattering of various branches of 
knowledge, rather than to extend the rangeof sound learn- 
ing or useful science. If Homer and Plato are not worthy 
that so large a portion of early life should be devoted 
to them, at least the moral and political wisdom of Aris- 
totle and Cicero deserve to be studied. Or even grant- 
ing that these, too, are antiquated and unenlightened in 
their views, Bacon and Montesquieu, Newton and La 
Place might be made the objects of careful and profound 
study. Whether any of the above authors are so studied 
as to exercise an influence upon the habits and tastes of 
the higher classes in America, beyond the walls of their 
collecres, I leave it for themselves to determine. 

I think it principally owing to the above causes that 
the young men in the United States, who are the sons of 
wealthy parents, and in independent circumstances, are 
so apt to seek their amusement in racing, billiards^ Irot- 

210 EDUCATIO?f, 

ting horses, &c. They are not sufficiently grounded in 
literature to love it for its own sake. There are no gal- 
leries open to lliein, containing the attractive and im- 
mortal works of the great masters in statuary or in paint- 
ing. Can it excite wonder, especially if they have not 
the opportunity and advantages of travel, (wl>ich it has 
been the absurd practice of some of their authors and 
critics of late to deride^) that they shall seek for pleasure 
in such pursuits as are within iheir reach. 

It is a singular circumstance that, as the law is the 
gate through which all must pass who hope for high civil 
employment or distinction in the United States, it does 
not seem to be a fashionable or favourite profession with 
the class of whom I have been speaking ; nevertheless, 
I believe I am justified in asserting that of the Senate and 
House of Representatives in Congress, as well as in all 
the legislative bodies in the respective states, three- 
fourths are, or have been lawyers. This observation may 
appear inaccurate to those who have travelled hastily 
through the states, because they may have remarked the 
extraordiary number of majors, colonels, and generals, 
whose names appear in the representative and senatorial 
lists throughout the Union, and they may thence have 
been led into the error of believing that those bodies con- 
tain a large proportion of military men ; but upon closer 
inquiry it would have been found that the parlies bearing 
the above warhke tides were, for the most part, peace- 
able militia civilians, and limbs of the law. If any iVme- 
lican reader were to take the trouble of investigating the 
point, and were to inform me that I had much understated 
the proportion, and that instead of three-fourths, I sliould 
have written five-sixths, I should not be surprised ; at all 
events, 1 have not been guilty of wilful exaggeration on 
the subject. 

The result is what might naturally be expected ; the 
members of the state legislatures, who are there prepar- 
ing themselves, and sharpening their horns for congress, 
are more familiar with the details of business, and much 
more conversant with local interests than the individual 
members of the British Parliament ; but being, for the 
most part, less liberally educated, and furnished with 


less general information, their views are confined, al- 
though they are most ingenious in carrying them into 
effect. To this same cause may be traced, in some 
measure, the declamatory style and interminable length 
of the orations delivered in congress. Ii is true, that no 
reasonable auditor would complain of listening, even for 
three or four consecutive hours, to Messrs. Clay, Web- 
ster, or Calhoun, because, when these eminent men 
speak, important facts are adduced, and important prin- 
ciples illustrated, in a strain of eloquence, different in 
kind, but excellent in degree ; yet there are speakers 
(whom it might appear invidious to name) without com- 
manding powers or attainments, who frequeritly inflict 
upon the house a speech of two or three days' duration, 
wherein every public question that has been, or that may 
be brought forwai-d, is vaguely discussed, and wherein the 
original subject of debate is so completely submerged by 
foreign matter, that the most attentive listener must be at 
a loss to know whether the question under consideration 
is a rail-road bill, or the currency, the recognition of 
Texas, or the Newfoundland fisheries. 

As the greater part of the practical business of the 
country is transacted in the state legislative assemblies, 
the general congress continues (in deference to that so- 
vereignty of which the several states are so jealous) to 
tolerate these rambling and tedious orations, the chief 
object of which is to fill a certain number of columns in 
the newspaper, to be duly circulated in the neighbour^ 
hood whence the speaker is delegated. It seems to be 
a kind of understanding or unwritten compact between 
the orator and his audience, that he be allowed to talk 
without interruption as much as he pleases, so long as 
they are not called upon to listen to one word that he ut- 
ters. Accordingly, during the delivery of one of these 
triduan discourses, the senate of the United States wears 
the appearance of an orderly, well-regulated reading- 
room ; the members being comfortably seated in their 
arm-chairs, some looking over and answering private let- 
ters, some exchanging a few words in a low whisper 
with each other, or with friends in the strangers' gallery, 
others reading a newspaper, and all evincing the most 


philosophic indifference to the tedious harangue and ex- 
hauslless lungs of the orator. 1 have often admired this 
palieni endurance of an infliction which would, in the 
British House of Commons, have called forth a storm of 
groans and coughs ; but I could noi imitate it when (as 
it happened more than once) I had gone to the senate on 
purpose to hear Clay or Webster, and found such a 
talker as above described " in possession of the floor:" 
hour after hour did 1 wait, in vain, expecting him to 
cease, and at length left the house, muttering old Ho- 
race's dfstich : — 

" Rusticus expectat Jum defluat amnis ; at ille 
Labitur, et labetur in omne volubilis aevum !" 

As far as mv acquaintance with American society en- 
ables me to judge, I am inclined to believe that the offi- 
cers of the army and navy afford a more favourable spe- 
cimen both in respect to manners and attainments, than 
the average of young men who either follow mercantile 
pursuits, or those who, if nominally engaged in busi- 
ness, devote the greater proportion of their lime to amuse- 
ment. The education at West Point, although it may 
be faulty in some respects, is more concentrated in its 
obiecis, and therefore more complete, than the course pur- 
sued at other American academies. Much attention is 
paid to the mathematical department, and the engineer 
officers are, generally speaking, thoroughly conversant 
with the science and practice of ti.eir profession. On the 
other hand, the naval officers are justly proud of the high 
reputation that they have acquired even in the youth of 
their country, and are honourably desirous of maintaining 
it. I am sure that their brethren of the sea, whether 
British or French, will do them the justice to say, that 
they are a body of officers calculated to do honour to the 
service of any country. 

The young Americans, especially those who have not 
travelled, are in general, very deficient in those lighter 
accomplishments, whether of mind or body, which ought 
to accompany the more essential siudies in every gen- 
tleman's education. An acquaintance with the current 


literature of the day, a taste for music and poetry, skill 
in modern languages, are attainments of secondary im- 
portance indeed ; yet they lend an illusive ci)arm to the 
daily intercourse of society, and rescue the conversation 
of the drawing-room from the insipidity of gossip. — 
Even dress, and dancing, and the many trifling niceties 
which tend to impart grace to the motions, and polite- 
ness to the manners, are deserving of more attention 
than they have met at the hands of the American beaux. 
I have been upon several occasions rather amused than 
surprised at hearing them complain of the bad taste of 
some of the young ladies, who prefer the society of 
foreigners in the drawing-room or at the ball. The fact 
is, that the said belles possess the quick perceptions pe- 
culiar to the sex ; and if they find the foreigner a belter 
waltzer, or more agreeable in conversation, it is not to 
be wondered at, if they lay aside their patriotism for the 
amusement of the moment, and a pleasant partner. 

The American reader will probably think that the so- 
cial lights and shadows here introduced are illiberal and 
unjusr. A film in the eye of the observer will often be 
mistaken by him for a spot in the object observed : such 
may be my case at present : meanwhile I set down my 
remarks as they occur to me on the spot, haply without 
sufficient deliberation, certainly without intentional mis- 

The difference between the American ladies and their 
sister rivals in Britain, is more easily seen and felt than 
expressed in words. All travellers have agreed in ex- 
tolling the beauty of the former, their classic outline of 
feature and delicate grace of expression, while all have 
lamented the fleeting and transient duration of those 
charms which they so much admired. Without pre- 
tending to decide upon so critical a subject, I have yet 
seen enough to convince me of the general accuracy of 
the above remarks. The distinguishing traits of Amer- 
ican beauty, are a low pale forehead; a well-pencilled 
eyebrow, a fine nose remarkable for the transparency 
and expressive arch of the nostril, a short delicate upper 
lip ; all which features are harmoniously disposed in a 
face remarkable for the classic grace of its contour.—' 


The points in which they usually fall short of the beauty 
of Englishwomen are in whiteness and regularity of 
teeth, in brilhancy of colour and complexion, as well as 
in the full developement of bust and figure. 

There is another point which must invariably strike 
the ear of an Englishman, namely, the intonation of 
voice common to Americans of boih sexes : it varies in 
its character in the northern, western, and southern 
states ; but in all it is quite distinct, and may be called 
a national pecuharity : it has no reference to pronuncia- 
tion, and is observed by French and German travellers 
as well as by the British, thoujrh of course the latter are 
more sensible of it from the language being their own. 
There are many exceptions to this, as to every general 
statement, and more among the men than among the 

The accomplishments of the American ladies are also 
very different from those of the fair sex in England. — 
This difference may be traced partly to tlieir education, 
and partly to the customs that prevail in society. The 
great majority of young ladies in the United Slates are 
brought up ai schools ; many of these are seminaries for 
the instruction both of boys and girls, until they attain 
the age of ten or twelve years. I have more than once 
been told by a young lady in reply to my inquiry whe- 
ther she were acquainted with some particular young 
man whose name had accidentally been mentioned. 
" Oh yes ; I used to know him very well ; we were 
school-fellows !" An answer which surprised me very 
much at the lime. 

After leaving these early schools the girls are sent to 
academies, exclusively devoted to French education : 
these academics so far resemble the xlmerican colleges, 
that they embrace a very wide range of acquirement, 
and therefore have a strong tendency to give a superficial 
knowledge of the variety of subjects presented at once 
to minds, which cannot be expected to be disposed for 
laborious study. The result is such as might be ex- 
pected : the American ladies are more conversant with 
metaphysics, and polemical and speculative writings 
than Englishwomen. In history and geography their 


acquirements are more upon a par; but in those ac- 
complishments which are considered in Britain more 
peculiarly feminine they are less advanced, namely, 
dancing, drawing, music, and needle-work, as well as in 
the modern languages. It must be remembered, Ijow- 
ever, tliat in these last, and also in some of the other 
branches abovemeniioned, it would not be fair to institute 
a comparison, because they have not the same advan- 
tages of instruction from the best masters that Europe 
can produce. 

Young ladies in the United Slates " come out," or 
"enter company," at seventeen or eighteen years of age ; 
sometimes even before they have lelt school. This last 
practice 1 cannot help considering extremely pernicious ; 
it distracts the young mind from all study, and introduces 
similar subjects of conversation among still younger 
girls who are not destined to go out into the world for 
two or three years to come. A young lady whom I 
knew in one of the Atlantic cities, the daughter of a gen- 
tleman in a higli situation, and remarkable herself for 
naivete and quickness, told me, that wdien she was at 
school, some of the elder scholars used to go out fre- 
quently to evening parties, and when they returned, they 
described to the younger ones the pRriners whom they 
had danced with, and whatever had afforded them food for 
observation and amusement. The accuracy of the ac- 
count given to me was indubitable ; for my cleves in- 
formant mentioned to me the sobriquets by which seve- 
ral of the young men in society were known among her 
school-companions, and they were droll, but faithfully 
descriptive. This system may be considered harmless 
by som.e people and dangerous by others : without inves- 
tigating the subject too minutely, I think all must agree 
that it has a tendency to unsettle the mind for serious 

Young ladies enjoy much greater liberty in America 
than in England or France ; they walk unattended by a 
servant, and frequently receive the visits of gentlemen 
in the drawinor-room during the mornincr : thus, either in 
the house, or in walking, or in riding, a young lady can 
enjoy as much of the society of an agreeable friend as 


their miitnal inclinations may dictate, wiihoiit the re- 
straints of the presence of a mother or any other third 
party. Tliis liabit of life gives an independence to the 
character which forms its most stril^ing feature in the 
eye of a foreigner. Neither are their opinions nor their 
studies subject to very severe maternal scrutiny : I have, 
upon several occasions, heard a young Indy openly main- 
tain Unitarian opinions with a Calvinistic mother in the 
room, and discuss some of the doctrines of Hobbes or 
Voltaire with much quckness and freedom. 

Notwithstanding the numerous exceptions to the above 
remarks, they are generally applicable ; and I doubt not 
that the inference drawn from them by an English mo- 
ther would be, that a woman so educated must be lax in 
her moral and religious principles. Such an inference 
might probably be correct, if one individual were so 
brought up in England, under a system different from 
that generally pursued, and therefore uncontrolled by the 
incalculable power of custom and public opinion ; but it 
would be altogether inapplicable to America, where the 
standard of female virtue is as at least as high as in any 
country in Europe, On the other hand, if it be inferred 
from these observations, that I prefer the system pursued 
in America to that observed in Britain, the inference 
will be also incorrect ; for, although exercised within 
the bounds of propriety, that very independence of man- 
ner and opinion to which I have before alluded, as form- 
ing a striking female characteristic in America, tends in 
a certain degree to impair that modest reserve, lliat gen- 
tle bashfulness, that " coy submission " and "sweet re- 
luctance," which 1 have always considered the most at- 
traciive and endearing attribuies of woman. This is a 
point upon which J njay be peculiarly sensitive ; but it 
has occurred to me more than once, when enjoying an 
agreeable tete-a-tete, either in the drawing-room, or in 
the summer-evening stroll, that the concession of such 
privilege to an ordinary acquaintance in an infringe- 
ment of those rights which are in England reserved for 
the most select friendship, or for the nearest kindred. 
Tliis feeling would force itself upon me ; but it must be 
owned that there is something charming, and even flat- 


lering, to a foreigner unaccustomed to these habits, in 
the innocent fearlessness with which a young maiden 
confides herself to his society and protection. Any at- 
tempt to avail himself of ihat opportunity for doing or 
saying anything that a mother's presence might not 
sanction would, doubtless, be met with deserved resent- 
ment and scorn. 

As it may be presumed that a happy marriage is the 
"consummation devoutly to be wished " by most young 
ladies, it would not be uninteresting to inquire, whether 
the British maternal and governess watchfulness, or the 
American system of liberty is more favourable to its pro- 
motion ; but I have not leisure to enter into such specu- 
lations here, especially (as in Sir R. Coverley's argu^ 
mem) where so much might be said upon both sides ; suf'^ 
fice it for the present to (observe, that probably eachsys^ 
tern is suited to the condition of its respective country. 
In England, a marriage contracted without a prudent re- 
gard to pecuniary considerations and to due provision 
for a family, is generally productive of much annoyance 
and unhappiness, and consequently the advice and con^ 
trol of parents is highly desirable. In America, such is 
the abundance of unoccupied soil, so wide is the field for 
employment, and so great is the return obtained for capi- 
tal judiciously invested, that any spirited and intelligent 
young man may, by his own exertions and with a very 
small original patrimony, maintain a wife in comfort, and 
ere lon^ in affluence ; so that tliis eventful era in life 
does not require so much worldly providence and calcu- 
lation as in countries where the most estimable character, 
and the most devoted exertion, may sometimes strive in 
vain to win for the wife the same comforts and luxuries 
as those which surroiuided the maiden. 

Another obvious remark, arising from the considera- 
tion of the abovementioned systems, is that the very 
freedom of intercourse, supposed to be so favourable to 
courtship, and conducive to matrimony, is often produc- 
tive of effects directly opposite. These travellers along 
cupid's high road, viewing their destination so plainly, 
and so long before tliey reach it, frequently become 
weary of the journey, and either turn back, or wander 

Vol. II.— T 


for repose and refreshment into a hotel kept by friend- 
ship; whereas, in the restrictive sysiem pursued in Bri- 
tain, the stolen interview, and the opportunity snatched 
with difficulty, often lead the unconscious pair by abrupt 
and unknown patl)s to the temple of hymen. No one 
acquainted with ihe obstinate peculiarities of human na- 
ture, can have failed to remark how many an unhappy 
marriage has been fostered by ill-judged opposition, i'he 
flame of eartlily love, like that of religious zeal, burns 
most brightly when fanned by the breath of persecution. 

The matrimonial condition of American women is not 
less different from that of English women, than are the 
respective habits of the unmarried ladies as above de- 
scribed. In England, a young lady, by marrying, ex- 
tends her liberty ; and, in fact, although it may sound 
paradoxical, increases her independence. She escapes 
from tiie thraldom of a governess, and from the surveil- 
lance of a chaperon ; her husband's name, and her own 
propriety, are all the protection that she requires; and 
she can receive at home, or visit abroad, whom and when 
she pleases. This is precisely reversed in the United 
States ; where a lady's freedom of action and indepen- 
dence is resiricted,'insiead of being extended, by he rmar- 
riage. If she were to be seen walking, or riding, or dri- 
ving, or receiving the morning visits of the same indi- 
vidual who might have been her companion on such oc- 
casions before her marriage, the impropriety of her con- 
duct would be the talk and scandal of the town. I have 
been frequently taken to and from a ball, by one or two 
young ladies in their carriage, without comment or re- 
mark bein^ excited in any quarter ; but if a married lady 
were to offer a place in her carriage to a gentleman on 
such an occasion, her conduct would be unsparingly cen- 
sured. It is not my wish or object at present to deter- 
mine accordinfiT to the customs of any nation, what are 
the exact limits of propriety in res[)ect to such matters ; 
but I certainly cannot approve of the line drawn as above 
described in the United States. 

There remains one more American characteristic, fre- 
quently noticed by travellers, on which T wish, in con- 
clusion, to offer a few observations. I allude to the na- 


lional vanity with v^rbich the Americans are usually 
charged by English writers. Its existence and preva- 
lence I admit; but I am very far from viewing it as a 
heinous offence, or as deserving the animadversion which 
has been so generally bestowed upon it In truth, I 
know not any nalion that has ever been distinguished in 
history, where this has not been a national characteris- 
tic ; and certainly it never has been carried to a greater 
height than in Britain. There is not a popular poem, or 
ballad, or proverb, in which our unequalled superiority 
over every other people is not set forth; neither is there 
a sailor in our fleet who does not believe that one Eng- 
lishman is equal to three Frenchmen, as certainly as that 
three and one make four. Look again at the gallant na- 
tion last named, and see in their drama, in their ballads, 
in their proclamations, whether it is not assumed as an 
indisputable fact, that, of the habitable earth, France is 
the mistress — Paris, the capital. 

No reader who is even slightly acquainted with the 
literature of Germany and Spain, or of ancient Rome 
and Greece, can have failed to observe the prevalence 
of the same characteristic in all those countries, espe- 
cially in that last mentioned. The Athenians, not con- 
tent with asserting their superiority in arts and arms 
over all the nations which they designated as "barba- 
rous," would not even admit of competition with the rival 
community of Lacedaemon. The philosophic Thucy- 
dides prefaces an eloquent speech, which he records of 
Brasidas, the Spartan commander, with this parenthesis : 
" for he was not a bad speaker, so far as a Lacedemonian 
can speaky* 

On the above grounds, I am disposed to view in a more 
favourable light that national vanity with which Ameri- 
cans are charged by most travellers. Sometimes vanity 
will adopt the motto — '' Esse quam videri," and then it 
becomes one of the noblest impulses that can animate 
the breast. If 1 were an American, I confess I should 
be proud of my country — proud of its commercial enter- 

* No English words can give the epigrammatic and contemptuous 
force of the original expression — ov jap advuarog yv, cjg AaKcdai/iovioCy 
eIttelv, &c, 


prise— of its gigantic resources — of its magnificent rivers, 
and forests, and scenery — still more proud should I be 
of its widely diffused educaiion and independence^ and 
of the imperishable memory of its heroic father and 
founder ! 

I have already allowed this discussion to lead me too 
far astray, and I must foithwith return to my narrative 
and to New York. 


Vexatious Disappointment. — Sail for Elizabeth-town. — Proceed to 
Piainfields and Flemington. — Beauty of the Country. — Addition to 
our Party. — Journey toward the Alleghanies. — Nation of the Dela- 
wares. — The River Delaware. — Immense Forest. — A Rattlesnake. — 
Valley of Lackawana. — Anthracite Coal. — Valley of Wyoming. — 
Coal Mine. — Return to Fleminoton. — Purchase of Live Stock. — 
Embark for New York. — Gambling Excitement. — The great Racing 
Match. — Excursion to the West. — Stay, at Newburgh — Start for 
Albany. — Puughkeepsie. — Wedding Party. — Hyde Park.— Glorious 
Landscape. — Kinderhook. — A wet Ride. — Albany. — Dutch Church. 
■ — Falls of Cohoes — ThePatrotm's House and Family — Lake Otsego. 
— Hyde Hall. — Cooper's Town — Dinner with Mr. Cooper, the cele- 
brated Novelist. — Prosperity of the Towns between New York and 
Buffalo. — Terms of political Abuse.— Oneida Indians.-^Canandaigua. 
— Journey resumed. 

On the 17th of May, I prepared to leave New York> 
and to accompany a friend on an excursion into the 
western part of Pennsylvania. I agreed to meet him on 
board the sieam-boat which was to convey us to Eliza- 
beth-town, in New Jersey. I was very busy this morn-^ 
ing, and had allowed myself the exact time requisite for 
reachinop the pier at the appointed hour : accordingly, 
with only five minutes lo spare, I got into a hack-car- 
riage, and in going down Broadway, found myself jam- 
med into an apparently interminable mass of vehicles, 
with half-a-dozen drays before me, as many huge carts 
piled with cotton behind, and wagons and omnibuses on 
each side. Never did I view with so evil an eye the 
flourishing business and commerce of New York. Es- 
cape was impossible : I saw the cruel minute-hand, qi\ 


a great clock, quietly approaching the fatal hour, and I 
knew that the inexorable stean:ier would not wait five 
minutes for President Jackson and all his cabinet. 

At length 1 conlrived to leap from the carriage, and 
running at full speed to the wharf (on a very hot day) 
had the satisfaction of seeing the boat go off when I wag 
within a hundred yards of her. She carried off, too, my 
companion and my luggage, which was all on board. 
These are the real occasions for exercising philosophy, 
especially when a man is hot, dusty, vexed, and disap- 
pointed ; and 1 will ajipeal to any reasonable man whether 
my conduct on this occasion was not worthy of Socrates 
or Plato. Having ascertained that another boat sailed 
in three or four hours^ I went and paid a morning visit to 
some young ladies who lived at no great distance, in 
whose agreeable society and conversation I soon forgot 
my steam-boat sorrows and disappointments. 

In the afternoon I sailed, and leaving on the left the 
neat villas and sloping gardetis of Staten Island, soon 
found myself at the port of Klizabeth, about two miles 
from the town, which I reached before six in the even- 
ing. Here I rejoined my companion and my portman- 
teau. Elizabeth-town is rapidly increasing in popula- 
tion, and in the value of real property, and if the pro- 
posed internal improvements are carried through in New 
Jersey, it will, at some future period, be one of the prin- 
cipal places of deposite of western produce passing to 
New York, with which city it will erelong be connected 
by a rail-road. 

Not finding any stage about to start in the direction 
in which we wished to travel, we hired a carriage and 
pair, and drove to a place called Plainfields ; there we 
slept, and proceeded in the morning to Flemington, a 
village about fifty miles to the west-souih-west of Eliza- 
beth-town. The country through which we passed was 
generally flat, althouoh to the north we could descry a 
bold outline of wooded upland. Nature was in her fresh 
spring attire, and although the snows and rigours of win- 
ter had been unusually severe, the gentle May had begun 
to assert her vernal rights ; the orchards were all pow- 


dered with blossoms ; the meadow-lark hovered blithely- 
over the sweet young clovei, in which 

New-born flocks in rustic dance, 
Frisking, plied their feeble feet ; 

the lilac, the sweetbrier, and the sweet grape perfumed 
the air; and harmonizing with the sounds which filled 
the ear, and tlie landscape which pleased the eye, in- 
spired the heart wiih that " vernal dcilight" which our 
greai poet has so beautiiully described as " able to drive 
all sadness but despair." 

The village of Flemington is prettily situated on a 
gentle slope, rising above the plains of New Jersey; 
and 10 the south of it is an extensive amphitheatre of 
heights, commanding a fine prospeci of the fertile and 
wooded valley, watered by the southern branch of the 
Rariton. Here we added to our party a gentleman who 
was to accompany us into ib.e west part of l^ennsylvania, 
and who was concerned in the management of a copper- 
mine which has been successfully explored and opened 
not very far from Fieri. itigton. With a rough wagon 
and two stout active ponies, we began our journey to- 
ward the Alleghanies. The road led us through a variety 
of beautiful scenery, the country being gei.erally well 
cultivated, with all the advantages of wood and water, 
and sprinkled with farms, villages, and some thriving 
towns ; of the latter, the most promising through which 
we passed w^ere Somerville and Belvidere, which last is 
on the eastern bank of the Delaware. 

That river now divides Pennsylvania from New Jer- 
sey, the valley o( which was once the favourite resort of 
the bravest and most j:!X)werful of all the Indian nations, 
the Lenni Lenape, commonly known under the name of 
the Delawarcs. Alas ! 1 have seen the remnant of that 
tribe which once numbered its warriors by thousands. 
The white man has pressed and pushed them gradually 
westward, and their small village is now near the junc- 
tion of the Kanzas with the Missouri, some hundreds of 
xniles to the north-west of St. Louis. In dress and agri- 
culture they are half civilized, but in iieart and spirit 
they are still Indians, still brave and haughty ; and being 

National degeneracy. 223 

better armed than the western tribes, and naore accus- 
tomed to ihe use of the rifle, a small party of them go an- 
nually to the Kocky Mountains to hunt, and ihey have 
given several signal defeats with unequal force to bands 
of the Pawnees, Rickarees, and Blackfeet, by whom 
they have been attacked. I do not believe they could 
now muster two hundred warriors. Human nature can- 
not help giving a momentary sigh at llieir gradual ap- 
proach to extinction ; yet they are but following in the 
track of naiions greatei and mightier, and apparently en- 
dued with stronger elements of vitality. Instead of me- 
ditating with too much regret on their fate, which is the 
natural result of savage f*. rce opposed by science and dis- 
cipline, we should first inquire what has become of the 
race who bled at Marathon and Thermopylai, and who 
immortalized their land by the faultless proportions of the 
Parthenon, the breathing marbles of Phidias, and the yet 
more glorious efforts of Homer, Plato, and Aristotle? — 
Or, if we do not wisfi to recede so far in the history of 
the world, let us ask what has becoQie of the respective 
tribes who, in the middle ages, ennobled by their cou- 
rage, talent, and enterprise, countries now sunk in idle- 
ness, cowardice, and vice ? Where shall we look in 
Poriugal for spirits bold as those who first opened the 
spices and treasures of the eastern seas to European 
commerce ? Where, among the intriguing chiefs and 
bandiis now devastating Spain in civil war, shall we look 
for the heroic and chivalrous patriotism which, from the 
time of Roderick till that of the great (jonzaies, rendered 
Castile, Arragon, and Granada, glorious in the annals of 
history ? Where are the descendants of the enterprising 
mariners who once bore to the harbours of Genoa and of 
Venice the wealth of Egypt and Asia Minor ? Can we 
recognize their children in the present divided, indolent, 
enslaved inhabitants of their land ? Or can we believe, 
when we look upon the gaudy colours and exaggerated 
designs of the modern Italian school of painting, that 
these men indeed are of the same nation, have seen the 
same temples, vineyards, and olive-groves, and have 
been warmed by the same sunny sky as shone upon 
Correggio, Raphael, Da Vmci, and Titian ? If it is 


the destiny of many civilized nations thus, in so short a 
lime, to degenerate, and die a moral and poliiical death, 
can we spare much either of our surprise or regret when 
w e see tribes of Indians melting like snow from the 
earifi ?"* 

To return to the river Delaware : — It has forced its 
way through the Blue Ridge at a point called the Wa- 
tergap: this passage ihrougfi the mountains appears to 
have been made by the pressure of an enormous body 
of water, and many conjectures may be formed respect- 
ing the date, extent, and other properties of this supposed 
lake; but being neither a speculative nor a practical 
geologist, I shall not venture to give any opinion on 
the subject. I must not forget to mention that the sides 
of the rocks, at several hundred feel above the present 
bed of tlie river, bear distinct marks of the action of 
water, and that in the small dells and inequalities of 
ground on the side of the mountain, are numbers of 
round stones, such as are usually found in the channel 
of a river, and of a different formation from the rocks 
near which they now lie. At a prominent point in the 
gorge called the Watergap is a neat comfortable tavern, 
standing in a most picturesque situation, and command- 
ing a line view of the Delaware, winding tiirough a con- 
fused mass of precipices and mountains wooded to their 
very summit, while the eye can scarcely follow the 
track through which this watery serpent steals into the 
plains below. 

Leaving the Gap, we pursued our journey west-north- 
west through a rough country, the more elevated portion 
of which formed what are there called " Pine-barrens," 
and where a few grouse are still left to reward the 
sportsman's toil. 'J'he whole lower range is an immense 
forest of oak, bircii, cherry, white pine and spruce, 
hickory and other nut varieties, and every species of 
maple. I must not omit to mention the most frequent, 
as well as the largest produce of these woods, namely, 
the hemlock. P>om some of these, planks might be 
cut of sixty feet in length, and three in breadth ; the wood 

* This expression is borrowed from a speech of an Indian warrior, 
in which he appUed it to his own tribe. 


is very inferior to the white pine and some olher timber 
trees ; neveriheless, it is cheap, and useful for various 
purposes. On the road we found a rattlesnake ; as we 
approaclied, he reared himself on his tail and offered 
battle ; there bemg no superstitious Pawnee to plead 
for him, one of my companions got out of the wagon 
and killed him wiih a suck ; but he proved extremely 
tenacious of life, and it was difficult to make wliat is 
called " a handsome corpse" of him. On a 'post men tern 
examination we found ihat he had eight rattles, and the 
fatal and curved tooth with which nature had armed him, 
was as long as the fang of a small dog. After all, he 
was a mere worm or adder, compared to some of those 
which J had seen in the western wilds, especially on 
the well-remembered banks of Snake river. 

We pursued our course westward, along a road 
which runs sufficienlly near a proposed and surveyed 
route for a rail-road to enable us to judoe of its practi- 
cability. It certainly appeared singularly adapted for 
such a communication, ft is almost increoihle with 
how small an elevation a road can be carried through 
this rugged country, and without any material increase 
of distance by circuition. Passing along the upper 
edge of an abrupt and gloomy ravine, formed by a 
mountain stream most appropriately termed the " Deep- 
roaring Brook," and following its course, we opened at 
length upon a valley which is already vvell known to 
the speculative and manufacturing public as liie valley 
of the Lackawana, in which river our Roaring Brook 
(like a romping girl w[)en married to a grave husband) 
loses both its name and nature. 

This valley, which is about thirty miles long, and from 
six to ten broad, is very fertile and pleasing in its scenery ; 
the hills which rise on either side are clothed with wood ; 
bpt that which forms the permanent and incalculable 
wealth of the valley, is the enormous bed of anthracite 
coal which subtends its whole extent. Of this coal there 
appear to be five strata, some of which are from fifteen 
to twenty-five feet thick; and as the formation extends 
for some distance up the hill-side, and continues all the 
way down to the bed of the riyer, facilities are offered ir^ 


every direction for taking out coal, by merely blasting it 
will) powder and drawing it out on a horizontal plane. 
All the expense of sinking a shaft being thus avoided, it 
is sold at the farms and villages in the neighbourhood 
for five shillings a ton, and if worked by a company upon 
a large scale, might be placed on a tuinpike or rail-road 
for half-a-crown. When it is borne in mind that in^^tfiis 
valley lies the nearest coal to New York, which can be 
transported there without much difficulty, and thence to 
the eastern Atlantic cities, at half the present average 
price, it is difficult to say (if the communication were only 
once opened) how soon it might become the Newcastle 
of the United Slates. 

After spending a day in examining this district, we 
followed the course of the Lackawana, till its junction 
with the ISusquehannah, and here we entered upon that 
valley familiar to every British reader under the name of 
Wyoming; we descended it some eight or ten miles, 
and admired the fertility of the soil, the smooth and 
stately course of the river, and the gently sloping hills 
which crown the distant view. 

On arriving at Wilkesbarre, a flourishing town situated 
in the centre of the valley, I strolled out to enjoy the 
scene in quiet, and look in my hand ihe sweet legend of 
Gertrude lo refresh and impress my memory withal. It 
is indeed a pleasing rural prospect, but — (why was that 
odious monosyllable ever mvenled ? — how many a fair 
character has been tainted by a buty — hi)W many a fair 
picture has it ruined, — how often has it been the means 
of " damning with faint praise !" nevertheless, truth, like 
murder, must come out, and I continue fearlessly lo add) 
but, there are scenes farther south on the same river, on 
the Delaware, the Juniata, the Shenandoah, the Hudson, 
the Mississippi, and the monarch of all — the Missouri, 
more rich, more fertile, more picturesque, in shoit, far 
more beautiful, whether judged by an admirer of Claude, 
or Poussin, or of Salvalor. 

Having given vent to this rash ebullition of candour, 
I proceed to say, tfiat there aie iew, if any, valleys in 
America which unite in the same degree, beauty of 
scenery with a promise of enormous wealth : like the 


valley of Lackawana, it is one solid mass of coal. I 
went vviih a genileman fron-j Wilkesbarre, whovv as kind 
enough to conduct me to see a mine worked by a coal 
company. The stratum is iwenty-eiglit feet tliick and 
of great extent ; it is on the side of a hill, and the coal 
can be drawn out on a plane very sligfitly inclined ; but 
they iiave fallen into an unaccountable blunder, by 
making their adit on the upper side of the formation, 
and working downwards, the natural consequence of 
whi( h is, thdt all the water from the surface, and all the 
springs which they start, runs into the mine ; and they 
are obliged, in self-defence, to open a large drain on the 
other Side of the stratum and below ii, to draw off the 
water. This sewer is inconvenient and only partially 
effective ; whereas, had they made their adit at the 
lower part of the formation, and worked upon a slightly 
ascending plane, they would have got their coal out 
more easily, and tlie water would have run off naturally. 
I should imagine that the valleys of the Lackawana and 
of the Susquehannah contain enough coal to supply all 
the cities now existing on the earth, for a thousand 

On the following day we returned to Flemington 
without accident or adventure, save that one of our 
party lost his pocket-book on tlie road, containing a con- 
siderable sum of money and notes of hand for a yet larger 
amount. He left us and went back in search, althouoh it 
rained heavily and incessantly. Soon afterwards I learn- 
ed with much pleasure, that he had recovered it safe and 
untouched. On the way, we stopped a night at the 
house of an enterprising and inielligent gentleman, who 
lives in the midtile of that enormous forest, of which he 
owns a large portion, and has cleared no small part ; 
he also was the means of making sixty miles of turn- 
pike-road which is called after him; in short, he is one 
of the most spirited improvers and speculators that I 
have seen in this country. We had several conversa- 
tions regarding the communications which might be 
opened between the Atlantic market and the interior of 
Pennsylvania, the substance of which it is unnecessary 
here to record. 


On our return to Flennington we astonished the land- 
lord, who had furnished our travelling wagon and team, 
by purchasing almost all his live slock : my companion 
bouglit a large four years' old colt, which he found in his 
stable ; while J purchased one of ihe ponies, which we 
had been driving, an excellent, active, indefaiigable crea- 
ture, which had as many alias-e» as a London pick- 
pocket, being called Dolly, alias Polly, alias Pop, We 
also carried off a fine puppy of the sheep-dog breed, 
rough, shaggy, and tail-less, most properly called Brum ; 
indeed I could not have distinguished it from a bear of 
six weeks old. Tying Polly behind the stage, we let 
ber run to Elizabeih-lown (about fifty miles), w'hen we 
embarked onboard a steam-boat, and reached New York 
in safety. 

The whole town was on the qui vive, owing to the 
approach of the races ; on the second day of which was 
to be decided the great match between the North and 
the ISouih. I do not remember ever to have seen such 
a prevailing excitement at a Derby or St. Leger : stocks, 
companies, land and house speculations, politics, cotton, 
in sliort, all the ordinary New York topics of interest 
were forgotten in the one absorbing subject. The town 
was full of the gay and sanguine children of the South, 
who were easily distinguistiable by their dark hair and 
sun-burnt cheeks, their dashing and reckless air, and the 
fearless readiness with which they staked their fifties and 
hundreds on their pet horse, " John Bascomb," who was 
so called (doubtless for good reasons, though unknown 
to me) after a methodist preaclier of thai name in the 
South. I can only say, that, if that worthy minister was 
but as rapid, indefatigable, and successful u\ his vocation 
as his quadruped namesake, he need not yield to any ex- 
pounder of doctrine from the time of John Knox to the 
present day. 

The New Yorkers were all confident in the success of 
their horse " Post-boy." The day arrived, and the dust, 
noise, oaths, quarrels, drunken drivers, and overturned 
vehicles, were almost worthy of Epsom; nay, so nearly 
did they copy that great original of gambling, vice, and 
debauchery, that booths for faro, roulette, and other 


g"ames were erected, and a few miserable scoundrels 
actually went about with pea and thiuible ! But Jona- 
than is not so good a subject for that uiost palpable of all 
cheating as John Bull ; besides which, the performers 
were in every respect inferior in dexterity, volubility, and. 
impudence, and were altogether deficient in that jargon, 
at which, despite its course vulgarity, J have more than 
once been compelled to laugh. 

The result of the race was, that the southern horse 
won the two first heals, and of course tiie match. It 
was easy to see that he was belter ridden, better directed, 
and better trained than his northern rival, and he won 
without difficuhy. The exultation of the South was 
great, and the money which changed sides on the occa- 
sion was probably more than was ever before staked on 
a race in America. 

After remaining in New York a few days longer, I 
prepared again to turn my steps to the westward, and 
accordingly embarked my bagorage and Polly on a steam- 
boat, which conveyed me as far as Newburgh, where I 
was 10 pay another short visit to my friend on the Hud- 
son river, I also took up with me a pair of black ponies 
wliich I had lately purchased, and which I proposed 
carrying back with me to Briiain. I took this opportunity 
of revisiting West Fomt for a few hours, and found that 
my former impressions of the extreme beauty of its 
situation were fully confirmed, 

After spending a day or two with Mr. A , I start- 
ed on horseback for Albany ; crossing to the eastern 
bank of the Hudson, the first town which I reached was 
Fonghkeepsie. This is a thriving handsome town, budt 
on a slope considerably above the river. The bales and 
packages in the streeis, as well as the shingles, and brick, 
and mortar in the suburbs, speak plainly as to the indus- 
try and enterprise of the inhabitants. A little above the 
town, and commanding a fine view of the Hudson and 
surrounding country, is a largetavern or boarding-house, 
which struck me as being the most neat, quiet, and com- 
fortable establishment of the kind which I had ever seen 
in America, '['he bar was separate from the house; the 
bedrooms and parlours, though not large, were decorated 

Vol. II.— U 


and furnished with good taste ; and altogether the house 
wore a most inviting appearance to a traveller long ac- 
customed to hotels, which are so full of noise, tobacco, 
and bustle, as are those of Ameiican cities in general. 

From Poughkeepsie I continued my course To the 
northward, and was aware of a merry party coming in 
the opposite direction ; I reined in my pony to see them 
pass, and soon found ihat they were under the combined 
influence cf Comus, Hymen, and Bacchus ; and a more 
mirthful assembinge can hardly be imagined. A mar- 
riage had apparently been solemnized between tw^o (if 
not more) of the persons present, who seemed to be in 
the humbler ranks of trades people. The "cortege" con- 
sisted of twenty or thirty wagons and gigs ; the horses 
and the ladies' heads were all adorned wiih flowers, and 
each squire had his dulcineaby his side. Wiih a sple- 
netic sigh over my own celibate condition, I let them go 
by, and rode on. 

1 soon came to the lodge of a country seat, which has 
been celebrated by almost every British traveller in 
America, Hyde Park, the residence of the late venerable 
and hospitable Dr. Ilosack. I had never found an op- 
portunity of delivering my letters of introduction to him 
during my former stay in New York, and I first heard of 
his death, which took place last winter, when 1 arrived at 
New Orleans. Of course his widow received no com- 
pany, so I resolved to ride through the grounds and see 
the prospect from them, merely leaving my card, ac- 
companied by an apology for the liberty I had taken. 

The ground between the road and the house is very 
bold and undulating, and affords the means of making a 
pretty small Inke, round which the approach winds its 
course. 1 he house is spacious and comfortable, \Aithout 
any pretensions to archuectural beauty. Dismounting at 
the door, I sent in my card, requesting permission to 
walk round (what is called in Scotland) " the Policy ;" 
and in a minute or two was agreeably surprised at hear- 
ina; my name pronounced by a genile female voice. On 
looking up, I recognized tlie daughter-in-law of Dr. Ho- 
sack, to whom I had been presented during an accidental 
meeting at a morning visit in New York. She invited 


me into the house and very kindly ofTered to show rae 
the " lions ;" among the principal of which, in doors, was 
the library, a most comfortable apartment, containing 
some tolerable pictures of liie Italian and Flemish schools. 
I soon followed my fair conductress to the other side of 
the house, where might be seen a picture more glorious 
than ever mortal pencil designed. Below us flowed the 
Hudson, studded with whits-sailed sloops as far as the 
eye could reach, even \intil they looked no larger than 
the edge of a seagull's wing ; tlie opposite bank, which 
slopes gently from the river, is variegated with farms, 
villages, and woods, appearing as though they had been 
grnviped by the hand of taste rather than by that of in- 
dustry ; while on the northwest side the prospect is 
bounded by the dark and lofly outline of the Cr.tskill 
range. I had only intended to remain here a fev/ minutes, 
as I had a long ride before me, and the shades of evening 
were already approaching; but, alas ! \V. Spencer has 
truly suno, how often it is that *' noiseless falls the foot 
of time;"* and surely if there is any situation in which 
one may be forgiven, if " unheeded fly the hours," it is 
when enjoying the luxury of so glorious a landscape, un- 
der the guitlance of a fair and amiable cJiapp?o?ie, who is 
herself not the least attractive feature in the scene. At 
length, however, I jumped on my po^iy, and gently ad- 
monished it that its activity must make up for my lost 
time, and bear me before night to some place where we 
might both find bed and supper. 

About eight o'clock I found myself at a small place, 
called, I believe. Red-hook, where l passed the night. 
The following morning 1 started at half-past four, and 
reached Kinderhook, a distance of between twenty and 
thirty miles, before breakfast. This place is classic 
ground to the Jackson (or, as ihey are sometimes called, 
the republican) party, as being the birth-place and early 
residence of their successful candidate for the presiden- 
cy, Mr. Van Buren. It is a neat, quiet, little town ; but 
does not contain any objects of interest to the traveller. 

At noon I pursued my journey towards Albany. Rain 
had fallen in the morning sufficient to wet me through, 
*8ee his little poem, " Too late I stayed," &q. 

232 . ALBANY. 

inasmuch as I was dressed in a light linen jacket and other 
summer et ceteras, without great-coat, cloak or umbrella. 
I had trusted to the continuance of the heat, whici) was, 
when I left Newburgh, excessive ; and, in order to ride 
more conveniently, had sent my baggage with my servant 
by steam. Jt was fortunate that I was comfortably wet 
before 1 started at noon, because I might otherwise have 
been annoyed at the series of tremendous thunder-show- 
ers through which I had to make my way : one of these 
was as black and terrible as any that I remember to have 
seen, and accompanied by so strong a wind, that, in order 
to keep on my horse, I was obliged to get under the lee 
of a shed. The cattle seemed all much alarmed, and 
cowered under every shelter which they could find. For 
a few minutes it was so dark that ] do not think i could 
have read ordinary print in the open air; the thunder- 
clnps were awfully loud and frequent, nor were they very- 
distant, for I learnt on reachmg Albany that a house had 
been destroyed, and several oxen killed by the lightning, 
T\ot far from the road by which T approached the town. 

My progress was neither pleasant nor fast ; for the 
mud in some places reached nearly to Polly's knees, 
and the small streamlets, which 1 was obliged to 
cross, were swelled to the size of turbid annry brooks. 
All these trifles were forgotten by seven o'clock, when 
she had her nose dipped into a peck of good oats in a 
warm stable, and I found myself again dry-clothed, with 
a cigar in my mouth and a cup of hot coffee at my elbow, 

Albany is a very striking town, both as regards its situ- 
ation and public buildings ; of the latter a great many 
had been erected since my last visit, nearly two years 
before ; some of them were still in progress, and promised 
to be very handsome, the material wherewith they are 
built being generally marble, the greater part of which is 
brought from Sing-Sing. The streets are wretcliedly 
paved ; but this is an evil which it is not very easy to 
remedy, as some of them are extremely steep and hilly ; 
and as the quantity of rain which falls here is very i^reat, 
the water rushes down them with incredible force, and 
carries away everything which contributes to support or 
bind the pavement. 


The second day of my stay being Sunday, I went in 
the morning to the Duich Refurmed Cijurch. This sect 
numbers in its ranks the Van Rensselaers, ihe Vander- 
poels, and many others of the best and oldest families of 
Dutch origin residing in or near Albany. As regards 
its tenets and riluai, I can perceive no difference between 
it and the Presbyterian church. The building is spacious, 
but not remarkable for any decorations, external or internal, 
except the candelabras, which are the most massive and 
handsome that I have seen in this country. I am told 
ihey were presented by the Patroon, but forgot to inquire 
whether they were of American or foreign manufaciure. 
The sermon was somewhat tedious, and too illustrative 
of the proverb that " a good thing cannot be too often 
repeated ; at least it appeared to me, on leaving the 
church, that some men could have put into an argument 
of five minutes all that was contained in a sermon of 
forty. In the afternoon, I went to the Episcopal church, 
which is not remarkable for architectural beauty, and 
heard the beautiful service and a harmless sermon tamely 

On the following day I received and accepted an invi- 
tation to dine witli General Van Rensselaer, generally 
mentioned by American travellers as the Patroon. In 
the morning [ rode out wiih Mr. T. Van Buren (the son 
of the Vice-President, who showed me every kind of at- 
tention and civility during my stay in Albany), to see the 
Falls of Cohoes, on the Mohawk river, a few miles 
above Troy. We ■ ould not have enjoyed a more favour- 
able opportunity for seeing this celebrated cascade, inas- 
much as it rained the whole day, as it had rained for 
three weeks previously. We were thus spared the an- 
noyance of dust on the road — were cooled and refreshed 
during our ride by the "gentle dew from heaven," and 
saw the Mohawk pouring forth his turbid and discoloured 
waters, in a mass of nearly twice his usual magnitude. 
The scene at the falls is very grand, but it should be 
seen by one who has not seen Niagara. It is well to say 
that comparisons are odious — they are so; nevertheless, 
the "great wonder of waters". will recur to memory — • 
its wreaths of spray and boiling cauldron will till the eye^ 


and ils terrible roar, the ear of fancy — despite argument, 
and propriety, and pliilosophy. 

An observant traveller must be struck by the activity 
and stirring spirit that is everyw/here discernible in this 
neighbourhood : villages, mills, and factories, are spring- 
ing np on all sides, and it is probable that Troy and Al- 
bany, now seven miles apart, will in a few years be one 
conlinuous town. Half way between the latter place 
and the Falls of Cohoes, is an arsenal of the United 
Slates, the commander of which politely pressed his hos- 
pitality upon us; but we were obliged to hurry forward 
in order to be in time for din<:er. This gentleman was 
of courteous agreeable manners, and a brave and distin- 
guished officer ; he was severely wounded in the last 
Anglo-American war ; — may it remain the last for cen- 
turies yet to come ! 

The Patroon's house stood at the north-western ex- 
tremity of Albany, and is separated from it only by a 
few fields, which he, very naturally, will not allow to be 
covered with buildmgs. The house is comfortable, and 
of moderate extent, but not remarkable for ils architec- 
ture. The family party consisted of the venerable head 
of the house, his lady, and four or five sons and daugh- 
ters. It is difficult to believe that Mrs. Van Rensselaer 
is really the mother of the handsome young ladies be- 
side her, she appears so youthful, and her conversation 
denotes a fresh, lively, and highly cultivated mind. Al- 
together I have been admitted to few domestic circles 
more agreeable ; and it is gratifying to see the vast pos- 
sessions of the Van Rensselaers in the hands of a gen- 
tleman so liberal, and so well calculated from liis char- 
acter and manners to make a sensible and generous use 
of them, as their present possessor. 

From Albany I proceeded on horseback to Lake Otse- 
go, a disiance of fifty-four miles, which I easily per- 
formed on my active nag, in less time than the coach, 
which started at the same hour, although it had three or 
or four relays of horses, so deep and muddy were the 
roads. Indeed, I have no hesitation in saying, that it 
was far less fatigning to ride those fifty miles than to 
have performed them in the stage. 


Otsego is a beautiful sequestered lake, and all the 
neighbourhood is classic ground, being the scene of one 
of the American novelist's best tales, and at the same 
time thai of liis own residence. At ihe upper end of the 
lake stands Hyde Hall, the seat of the late G. C. Esq. ; 
an English gentleman who settled in this country and 
built here a house more resembling the good English 
'squire mansions than any which I have seen elsewiiere. 
Here I remained several days, upon a visit to his widow 
Mrs. C. and others of his family, and must use the 
tautology common to every candid traveller in America, 
when I say that I was most hospitably and kii.dly re- 

The house, which is a plain, Grecian, stone building 
of large dimensions, contains some very handsome rooms, 
and comm.ands a splendid view of the lakes and the 
surrounding- hills and woods ; while in the distance, over 
the water, the neat white houses and spires of Cooper's- 
town emerge from the green and gently sloping shores. 
Among the inmates of the house, was a daughter of our 
hostess ; she had been married two years, and been a 
mother one, yet she had all the youthful animation, glee, 
and beauty of sixteen. In such company, fishing, row- 
ing, walking, and riding, made the time pass so quickly, 
that I was obliged also to remind myself that 1 was a 
traveller, and not a sojourner. On Sunday, 1 went down 
to Cooper's-town, where 1 heard a sensible discourse, and 
had the pleasure of dining and spending the afternnon with 
the Walter Scott of the Ocean. His house, both in size 
and appearance, looks like the parent of ihe thriving vil- 
lage in the centre of which it stands. Before it is a cir- 
cular lawn, now the scene of several pleasure-garden 
improvements ; beyond which the lake, with its wood- 
ed and verdant promontories, its sloping banks, and the 
bold headlands which are at its upper extremity, forms 
a most agreeable landscape : it is, however, already de- 
scribed by the highly gifted possessor in his tale of "The 
Pioneers," many of the characters of which are family 
portraits. Its heroine was drawn from a very near rela- 
tive, the memory of whose beauty and graces, both men- 
ial and personal, is still fresh in the neighbourhood. She 


died early in consequence of a fall from a spirited 

Leaving ihe beautiful and attractive bank of the Ot- 
sego, I proceeded westward, on horseback, through Au- 
burn, Syracuse, Geneva, and the oiher towns on the 
great line of road between New York and Buffalo. I 
observed a great change in all the villages, from ihe con- 
dition in which they had been when I last visited them, 
nearly two years before: everywhere, the hand of indus- 
try, enterprise, and improvement was visible ; new 
buildings and streets were rising in every direction; the 
value of real estate has risen rapidly, though steadily, 
and everything indicated public healtli and prosperiiy. 

In the village of the F.ills, I was much amused by 
seeing in the streets and taverns a primed notice, that, 
on the approaching festival of the 4ih of July, the "real 
democratic Jefferson Republicans" were to have a cele- 
bration of their own, separate from that of the " Aristoc- 
racy,''^ with whom they would have nothing to do. The 
strange and amusing feature of ihis notice was, that the 
"real Jefferson Republicans" here meant the Whigs ; 
and the Van Burenites were styled the Aristocracy, 
which appellations were (as is well known) in direct con- 
tradiction to the usual terms of odium used by the re- 
spective parties. It is not worth while in any country 
to waste much time in inquiring into the propriety of the 
terms of abuse to which election squabbles give rise ; it 
is sufficient to say, that if ihey wish, in any part of 
America, to affix the stigma of unpopularity upon any 
man, it is usual to call him an aristocrat. 

At Syracuse, I saw a few Indians of the Oneida tribe ; 
but oh I how different from the erect bearing, clean 
sinewy limbs, and fierce air of the savages beyond the 
Missouri ! Here they were squalid, diminutive, and de- 
graded, even in all qualities belonging to their ra^-e. 
About two hundred and fifty of them remain in their 
small villafire, seven miles south of Syracuse, and per- 
haps as many more reside in the vicinity of Buffalo ; 

* Mem. — The Susqnehannah rises at Cof)per's-town, and its infant 
chanrifil is fed bv tlie wators uhich escape from Oise^o lake. Otsego 
fc^niries, in the Mohawk tongue, the "stone" or " place o-f salutaVioii.''' 


and this is all that remains of the once powerful tribe, 
commonly called Oneida, whose real name was Onieut- 
kah, or the Slanding-Slone-People, who formed a part 
of the celebrated five nations (before the admission of 
the Tuscaroras,) and who, from their superior skill in 
the construction of their wicrwams, were generally known 
among surrounding tribes by the appellation of the 0-di- 
nach-sho-ni, or the House-builders. 

Proceedmg westward, I arrived at Canandaigua, 
where I had the pleasure of again paying a visit to one 
or two valued acquaintances from my own father- land, 
and who received me with the same kind hospitality 
which I liad experienced from them two years before. 

I remained two days in this social and beautiful vil- 
lage ; then borrowing a cnr from one of my friends, 1 
embarked myself, my servant, and luf^gage on it, and 
placed the whole astern of poor Polly : the day was 
intensely hot, and she must have thought me most un- 
merciful ; however, there was no other means of con- 
veyance, and I consoled myself with the reflection that 
it was only thirty-two miles. Polly performed her part 
with astonishing perseverance, and I arrived early in the 
afternoon at the place of my destination. 


F^lls of Genesee. — Commerce versus Romance. — Captain Jones. — Ap- 
proach to Ithaca— Ttie Town.— Railroad to Owega.— The Wind- 
Gap — Easton. — Patios of the District. — Episcopal Church —Ride 
to Bethlehem. — A German Emic'rant — Embark for New York. — 
Preparations for Return to England. — Embark in ''The Oxford." 
Party in the Cabin. — Hill, the American Comedian. — Prosperous 
Voyage. — Home. 

Among the " lions" in th^ neighbourhood of the lovely 
and fertile valley of Genesee, not the least worthy of at- 
tention are the falls of that river, at a point called the 
Portage. The banks are two or three hundred feet in 
precipitous height, and the scenery around is bold and 
picturesque. There are three separate cataracts or 


cascades about half a mile apart ; their height is conside- 
rable, and ihey are as yel iinrnarred by the beautifying 
hand of man ; altogether, they are second only to the 
great " wonder of waters," and vvill bear comparison v\Mlh 
any other which I have seen in America. Alas, for the 
world of poetry and romance ! the hallowed Niagara, 
the poet's theme, the mighty outlet of ocean-lakes, is 
now become a money-speculation ! Shades of Ruysdael 
and Salvator — of Homer and of Byron ! — could ye rest 
unappeased did ye but know that those " floods and foam- 
ing falls" which ye would have travelled thousands of 
miles to see and to hear, are now^ " calculated" as water- 
power for driving mills and factories ? " J^ois" are being 
" laid out," a ship canal is to be formed, and ihe spot is 
to be made the seat of one of the greatest commercial 
and manufacturing towns in the West. Il is useless to 
complain; as the white man presses back the "red lord 
of the woods," so must wealth, commerce, and enter- 
prise, press out and destroy the romantic beauties of 

During my stay in this neighbourhood, I went once or 
twice to see a western veteran, named Captain Jones. 
He was, at. the time of my visit, aged probably a little 
more than seventy years, and was taken prisoner when 
a boy by a band of the Seneca tribe in their attack upon 
Wyoming, where he and liis parents then lived. He 
was adopted by the tribe, and lived with them upwards 
of twenty years ; since which time he has been in con- 
stant intercourse with them, and has acted in the capa- 
city of interpreter in many treaties and "talks." Of 
course he speaks their language and knows all their ha- 
bits as well as a native Seneca, and he can also speak and 
understand a good deal of the Mohawk, Oneida, and other 
" Six-nation" languages. I had several long conversa- 
tions with him upon aboriginal character, customs, &c., 
and I found thai the old man was at heart more than half 
Indian. He spoke of many of the red n)en wiih an af- 
fection quite fraternal, and his general impression of their 
qualities was much more favourable than that whirh I 
received during my re^-idence among them ; but two 
things must be remembered, first, his own judgment was. 

ITHACA. 239 

liable to be prejudiced by his being so long identified 
with the Seiiecas, that even now the pride ol liie tribe 
is strongly to be reaiarked in his expressions; and, se- 
condly, 1 have every reason lo beheve, from all my later 
inquiries and observations, that, of all the greal tribes 
uncontaminated by civilization (alias whiskey), the mo.^t 
mischievous, trtachcious, and savage are my old friends 
the Pawnees. Captain Jones told me that ihey had that 
character among all the Indians whom he had known. One 
thing, at least, should be borne in mind, that, although 
some of the general Indian characteristics obtain through 
all the tribes, there are other important features in which 
they differ as much as the Russian from the Spaniard, or 
the Britain from the Italian. 

On my return eastward toward the Atlantic cities, I 
determined to take a southerly course toward Easton in 
Pennsylvania, where I had promised to meet some gen- 
tlemen whose acquaintance I had made in my former 
tour through Pennsylvania. This route took me down 
the western side of Cayrgi lake, toward a town called 
Ithaca, situated at the southern extremity of that beau- 
tiful and picturesque inland sea. 1 sent my servant and 
baggage to wait my arrival in New York. . I do not know 
the precise length of this lake, but the steam-boat which 
plies between its long wooden bridge and the town of 
Ithaca, performs atrip of forty miles ; how far it extends 
above the bridge I did not learn. 

The approach to Ithaca from the noithward is very 
beautiful: ihe foreground is undulating and fertile, dis- 
playing a fine alternation cf wood and gram ; below is 
the lake stretched between bold promontories in a gentle 
curve, and as it is only a mile or a mile and a half broad, 
it might be easily imagined lo be a bend of some mighty 
river. Beyond the town to the south and east, is a fine 
range of hills, whence descends a mountain cataract, 
leaping and foaming over hicrh precipices, looking as if it 
would disdain the eflTorts of man arid destroy his works ; 
yet, ere reaching the base of the hill, it is lamed, impri- 
soned, and tortured by dams, cuts, and races ; and its in- 
dignant waters, still frothed and yesly from their wild 
mountain sport, are made, like the strong Israelite of old, 


to turn mill-wheels, and to give other proofs of their 
strength in slavish drudgery for the tyranis into whose 
hands they have fallen. The town is very busy and stir- 
ring ; the railroad leading southward, and the steanner 
plyujo to the north, give many commercial facilities; 
and tlje number of inhabitants has already reached six 
or seven thousand. 

I now placed myself on the railroad which leads to 
Owego, a distance of about thirty miles. Horse power 
is here used, and the road is none of the besl ; in some 
places there were only wooden rails for the wheel-track, 
in others the horses had to raise their feet at each siep 
over the logs which sup[)ort the rails ; however, the gra- 
ding, which is the chief difficulty, is overcome. The 
route, although but a poor railroad at present, is never- 
ihek'ss an evidence of incipient improvement, and as 
such is commendable. All such intentions and begin- 
nings should be encouraged in the commercial as well as 
in tiie moral world ; nor do I know where there exists a 
more absurd fallacy than in the vulgar proverb which 
says, that " Hell is paved with good inientions." This 
can be logically and simply refuted by observing, that it 
is a true, but only a pa7'ticular proposition; that some 
good intentions exist which are not followed by good re- 
sults in conduct; but it is a true and a universal propo- 
sition, that all viriuous actions are the offspring of good 
intentions. These sneers at good resolutions are not 
confined to vulgar proverbs — they are often found in 
graver writers; and though, in consequence of human 
frailly, they may be sometimes deserved, the general de- 
duction appears to me most unphilosophical. 1 much 
prefer the sentiment which I remember to have met in 
the works of one of our standard authors, that "good in- 
tentions are at least the seed of good actions, and it is 
every man's duly to sow them."* 

From Owego to Easton the country is undulating, 
wild, wooded, and the soil light and poor. A few miles 
from the latter town the road passes through the blue 
ridge of mountains at a point called the Wind-Gap ; and 

*Sir W. Temple's Essays. 

EASTON. 241 

a most noble situation it is for a Temple of ^^olus. I 
know not the exact elevation, but it is very high ; and being 
the only gorge in the neighbourhood, the wind sweeps 
through it with tremendous violence. As a pass, or 
line of communication between the eastern and western 
country, it is very inferior to the Water-Gap, of which I 
made mention in an earlier part of my Journal. 

Easton is a flourishing town, situated at the junction 
of the rivers Lehigh and Delaware, and is one of the prin- 
cipal marls for coal and lumber. The former is brought 
down to it (from Maunch- Chunk, a coal-bed between 
forty and fifty miles up the river Lehigh) by a canal, and 
thence is conveyed to Philadelphia, or by the Morris canal, 
to New York. The country in the immediate neigh- 
bourhood is fertile and well cultivated ; the houses and 
farm buildings are neat and substantial ; and the appear- 
ance of the crops, especially the hay and the Lidian corn, 
gave evidence of the industry of the population, which 
is almost altogether German. I measured accurately 
three lieads of Timothy grass ; two of which were half 
an inch less, and one half an inch more, than a foot in 

It would kill a grammatical purist to spend a week in 
ihat vicinity ; the country dialect shames all the patois 
of Switzerland, Naples, Yorkshire, or Somerset.. I 
will defy either a native German or Englishman to un- 
derstand one word in three, until his ear becomes habi- 
tuated to the uncouth sounds. The nearest approach 
which I can make to a description of it, would be a mix- 
lure in the following proportions : — " Take of the Ger- 
man spoken by the labourers near Baden, one half; of 
bad Dutch, one quarter; and of Craven Yorkshire, one 
quarter: mix these thoroughly well, and let the nose 
have its due share in the pronunciation — then you have 
the Easton dialect." 

On Sunday I attended the Episcopal church. It is a 
small unpretending edifice. The service was w^ell per- 
formed, and the organ had a very sweet tone ; the sing- 
ing was peiformed chiefly by girls and children, and 
these were accompanied by one powerful bass voice ; 
the effect was strange, but not unpleasing. 

Vol. II.— X. 


On Monday I hired a horse, and cantered away into 
the woods on the northern bank of the Lehigh. The 
shade was delightful, and sometimes on roads, some- 
times on the tnrf, in those large white oak glades, I gave 
the rein to my horse, and to my fancy, and went on 
dreaming and galloping till I was roused by finding m}^- 
self among houses and streets, and on inquiry, learnt 
that I was in Bethlehem, a Moravian settlement twelve 
miles from Easton. Here is a very good school, to 
which young people are sent from all parts of the Union. 
The place is quiet, and the people are remarkably sober 
and industrious. Here also they talk intelligible Ger- 
man ; indeed many are from the "old country." I met 
two young farmers in a cart, and from their answer to 
my salutation, perceived at once that they were from 
Europe. I asked one where he came from, and he told 
me that he was from the neighbourhood of Eisenach. 
When he learnt that I had been there, and I began to 
talk to him about his native hills, and Fuldau, and the 
room where Luther threw the inkstand at his Satanic 
majesty's head, the poor fellow laughed and cried with 
pleasure. Six years had passed since either of us had 
been at that spot ; but they were for the time as six 
hours, and we talked of it with fresh and lively recollec- 
tions : then grasping each other's hands till the knuckles 
cracked, we parted, probably never to meet again in this 
world ! I like the Germans ; they have more feeling 
and less vanity, in their nationality, than any nation 
upon earth. 

Leaving Easton, I crossed New Jersey to New 
Brunswick, near the mouth of the Raritan, and thence 
embarked in a steamer for New York, where I arrived 
without accident or adventure. The letters which await- 
ed me at the post-office, obliged me to prepare for an 
early departure ; accordingly, I secured a birth in " The 
Oxford," a magnificent packet, which was to sail in a 
few days for Liverpool, and I devoted the intervening 
time to tlie necessary preparations for the voyage, and to 
oidding farewell to those of my American friends who 
were in the city and in its neighbourhood. This last was 
to me a sad, not a merely ceremonious, occupation ; for. 


during my long residence in the United States, I had 
become sufficiently intimate with some of its citizens, 
to look upon them with the warmest regard. I had been 
treated with invariable kindness, and I cannot too often 
repeat my firm "conviction, that no traveller from what- 
ever country he may come, will meet with so hospitable 
and cordial a reception in America as a British gentleman; 
that is, if he be a person of courteous manners, of 
liberal mind, and disposed to appreciate the intentions 
of those who offer him civility, instead of sneering at 
national or individual peculiarities. 

It was with many mingled feelings, which it is unne- 
cessary to present to the reader, that I stood on the deck 
of " The Oxford," and saw the shores of New York 
receding and gradually disappearing from my view. — 
There is a kind of instinctive sadness which oppresses 
us when we give a last look at any object which has 
long been familiar to us. The inquiry forces itself upon 
the mind, " Shall I ever see that object again ?" and 
although in some instances health and hope will answer 
it affirmatively, and in others, indifference may answer it 
carelessly, there is generally a feeling, or a presentiment, 
more or less connected with destiny and mortality, that 
whispers " Never !" — that low ominous whisper sends a 
sudden chill to the heart. 

If such gloomy fancies as these are to be dispersed 
by agreeable company and cheerful conversation, they 
ought not to have hovered long over " The Oxford," for 
the party in the cabin seemed disposed to please and to 
be pleased. Among those whose gayety and abilities 
were most calculated to enliven the tedium of a long 
voyage, were the Baron Krudener, the Russian minister 
to the United States, and the celebrated comedian, Hill. 
With the former of these I had long been acquainted ; 
and, although labouring under the disadvantage of ex- 
treme deafness, his conversation is a happy union of 
drollery, sagacity, and acute observation. The latter is 
unequalled in the fun, mimic power, and fidehty with 
which he delineates all the peculiarities of Yankee man- 
ners and dialect. He was now on his way to Europe, 
with the intention of representing these to the BriliqJ^ 


public ; and if his talent is only appreciated by those 
who have never visited New England, as it was by those 
gathered round the cabin-table of " The Oxford," he 
,will reap a rich and deserved harvest of success."* 

The voyage was prosperous, and unremarked by any 
incident worthy of record. " The Oxford" proved her- 
self an excellent sailer ; and on the twenty-first day from 
our embarkation, we found ourselves far up the Western 
Channel, the iieadlands of Anglesea were' passed, and 
we were already threading our way between the buoys 
that mark the entrance into Liverpool harbour. 

How many and conflicting are the thoughts which 
crowd upon the returning traveller, when coming in 
sight of his native shores, after an absence of several 
years ! — What a catalogue of births, deaths, and mar- 
riages awaits him ! In the circle of society wherein he 
was wont to move, how many new faces may he expect 
to see ! — Fortunate indeed is he if he be not destined to 
find changes that must wring his heart. Nevertheless, 
in approaching home, delightful remembrances of the 
past, and sanguine expectations of the future, triumph 
over all other feelings. Before he has seen the face of a 
friend or relative, he receives a kindly greeting from the 
inanimate but well remembered objects around, and with 
greatful prescience, reads a welcome in the hills, the 
promontories, and smiling valleys of his father-land. t 

* Mr. Hill's reception, both in Paris and in London, has realized 
these expectations. — 1839. 

t The feelings excited by the first view of home, after a long absence, 
are depicted by Catullus with such exquisite tenderness of expressioa, 
that I cannot deny myself the pleasure of closing my Journal with his 
address to his Sirmian villa : — 

" Quam te libenter, quamque loctus inviso ! 

Vix mi ipse credens, Thyniam et Bithynos 

Liquisse campos, et videre me in tuto. 

O quid solutis est beatius curis 1 

Cum mens onus reponit, ac peregrino 

Lahore fessi, venimus ad Larem nostrum, 

Desideratoque acquiescimus lecto. 

Hoc est, quod unumest pro laboribus tanti;? ' 




Now, gentle reader, after having been favoured with 
your company throughout so long (and I fear to you, so 
wearisome) a journey, methinks it would be showing you 
but small courtesy, were I to conclude this narrative with- 
out addressing to you a few words of parting kindness. 
I feel that I owe you many apologies for frequent inter- 
ruptions and digressions ; but for these, I doubt not, I 
shall obtain your pardon. In perusing a narrative, you 
must be content to travel with its author, and you must 
not complain if he sometimes moves on when you v/ish 
to pause, or if he dwells for some time upon a spot or a 
scene from which you desire to escape : neither should 
you be too severe with him even if he proves some- 
times a dull or a tedious companion ; " aliquando 
bonus dormitat Homerus ;" and it is impossible that a 
Journal can be a faithful transcript of a traveller's life, 
or of the author's mind, if it attempt either to amuse you 
with perpetual sallies of wit, or to excite your interest 
by an uninterrupted succession " of moving accidents 
by flood and field." If you, whose eye now rests upon 
this page, are a Briton and a fellow-countryman, it is not 
improbable that you may have missed, in these volumes, 
the satirical observations on American peculiarities of 
manner, character and language, of which you have been 
furnished with so abundant a supply by other writers, 
and from which you had expected to derive no little 
amusement. If such be the case, I regret your disap- 
pointment ; but at the same time, I entreat you to remem- 
ber, that the parable of the mote and the beam is of na- 
tional as well as of individual applicability, and that nei- 


ther our own manners nor morals are so faultless as to 
justify our indulging in a tone of censure, sarcasm, or 
satire, upon those of the Americans. I would remind 
you that many of the peculiar characteristics which we 
sometimes criticise so severely in them, are the very same 
traits which French, German, and other European wri- 
ters have observed as marking our own national charac- 
ter. Lastly, I would appeal to yet higher feelings than 
a mere sense of justice, and would recall to your recol- 
lection, that, although separated by political accidents 
and by the Atlantic, this people is connected with us by 
a thousand ties which ages cannot obliterate, and v/hich 
it is unnatural to sever now while they are yet fresh and 
vigorous. Whether we view the commercial enterprise 
of America, or her language, her love of freedom, or her 
parochial, legal, or civil institutions, she bears indelible 
marks of her origin ; she is, and must continue, the 
mighty daughter of a mighty parent ; and although eman- 
cipated from maternal control, the afSnity of race re- 
mains unaltered : her disgrace must dishonour their com- 
mon ancestry, and her greatness and renown should gra- 
tify the paternal pride of Britain. 

In bidding you, American reader, farewell, I would 
induce you by every means in my power to cherish and 
reciprocate the sentiments above recommended ; to re- 
member that your literature is formed upon English 
models, your jurisprudence upon English law, and that 
the very love of freedom and independence which moved 
you to cast off the dominion of England, was imbibed 
by your first founders from the breasts of English mo- 
thers. Let not sneers, nor petty interests, nor petty jea- 
lousies sever these ties of ancient kindred, but rather let 
both nations endeavour with a noble emulation to show 
to th<3 world, each under her own institutions, an exam- 
ple of every public and private virtue. Would that I 
could flatter myself with having contributed my mite to- 
wards the attainment of this desirable object. At least, 
my American brethren, you will do me the justice to 
own, that v/hat I have written concerning your country 
has been written in this spirit. I may have been mista- 
ken in many of my views, and may have fallen into nu- 


merous errors, to which all travellers are more or less 
liable ; my pen may probably, in some instances, have 
been guided by prejudice, of which I was myself uncon- 
scious. I know not whether I shall ever return to your 
shores, w^here I have spent some of the happiest hours 
of my life ; but, if I am destined to revisit you, I shall 
come in the confidence of grasping more than one friendly 
band, and in the consciousness of having, in these vo- 
lumes, neither stooped to flatter you, nor "set down aught 
in malice." Under the influence of these sentiments, I 
bid you, gentle Reader, — Farewell.